Food Diary: What Is It?

A food diary is a daily record of meals you consume in a day. It helps monitor what you eat at a specific time, the amount of food you intake, and its nutritional and dietary information, like calorie count. It is similar to a tracker that records your daily eating habits. Not to be confused with meal plans, a food diary is a log for everyday food consumption.

According to Statista, 26% of young adults in America regularly track their diet and nutrition intake in 2017. The data shows that nutrition matters even to the younger generation of Americans as well.

Information Included in a Food Diary

Food diaries sound tedious at the start. However, once the habit starts, it will come naturally, and it would allow you to track the right food to consume daily.

What did you eat? This the heart and soul of the diary. Jot down everything you ate and drank daily, no matter how big or small. Make sure to describe meals or drinks in detail to keep track of food consumption. If you know the ingredients incorporated in your meal, be sure to include them.How much did you eat? In eating healthy, you must remember to track how much you’re consuming. Instead of using broad descriptions like small, medium, or large, it is better to manage your portions by specifying the exact amount of food; writing its weight or volume is better.How nutritious are your meals? Aside from selecting what you eat and measuring meal portions, it is also beneficial to note the food’s nutritional value. If you have any health complications, it is advisable to write down any information to watch your dietary needs.What time do you eat? A balanced diet requires eating three meals a day. In some cases, it is difficult to keep track of time when you’re preoccupied. More often than not, we compensate for eating less by overeating. Taking note of this helps in planning when to eat in the future without relying on overeating.Where am I eating? The environment you’re in while you eat is an added factor in a food diary. It helps identify when you over-eat or under-eat and prevents you from encountering the same circumstances.How am was I feeling? Contrary to popular belief, emotions play a role when it comes to eating. It is important to note if we’re feeling sad or angry because it relates to the amount of food we consume. Also, consider writing how hungry you were before the meal and indicate how you felt after finishing the meal.

A Guide on How to Start Your Food Diary

For people who do not have any experience in meal planning or writing a food tracker, these are some steps you can take to start writing your food diary.

Step 1: Write What You Eat as Soon as Possible

The main point of having a food diary is to record the meals we eat. It is important to write what we eat in real-time than remembering what we ate hours ago. If you don’t have the diary with you, taking a photo of what you eat is also helpful.

Step 2: Note When and Where You’re Eating

As a part of the food diary, you have to indicate this. It helps track food consumption given certain situations. It is also worth noting to include the atmosphere in which you are eating as this influences food consumption as well.

Step 3: Consider Healthier Alternatives for Food

It is applicable when ordering takeaway food, picking out groceries, or selecting a snack. Ask yourself if there is a similar food with a similar taste that would be a healthier choice. For example, if you wanted to eat a fast-food burger, a healthier alternative would be packing a chicken sandwich you made at home. Having food alternatives is a good influence in carrying a healthy lifestyle and expanding your food selection over time.

Step 4: Be Honest

A food diary is there to help you achieve your goals of eating healthy. Logging things that are not accurate will not help; it would feel like cheating and would not benefit you in any way. You’re not supposed to impress anyone but yourself, be honest.


Benefits of a food diary

According to a study about food diaries in West Virginia University, monitoring food consumption helps in successful weight loss compared to those who do not use a diary or are inconsistent in using it.

Other benefits include:

  • Accountability of food consumption
  • Identifying nutritional needs
  • Building healthy eating habits

A list of superfoods

Superfoods are called as such because they carry high amounts of nutrients for fewer calories. Aside from that, they contain large amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Antioxidants help lower the risk of diseases and conditions like cancer, stroke, heart diseases, and immune deficiency.

  • Berries
  • Fatty fish
  • Leafy greens
  • Nuts
  • Spirulina
  • Tea
  • Turmeric
  • Whole grains
  • Yogurt
  • Dark chocolate

Why is a healthy diet important?

The World Health Organization records that 1.9 billion adults suffer from obesity and 462 million for being underweight. A healthy diet is necessary because it allows a person good health and nutrition. It also protects us from diseases, infections, fatigue, and low performance. A healthy diet must start from childhood to prevent developmental problems and to prevent chronic diseases in adulthood.

Eating is one of the most gratifying human activities to do. It brings joy to savor our favorite food while we watch our favorite movies or television shows. It gives a sense of thrill when we try new and exotic foods while visiting other places. Food is an essential part of our lives, and this is why we must keep ourselves healthy. As Buddha once said, “To keep the body in good health is a duty; otherwise, we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” Start a healthy lifestyle now by engaging in a food diary!