Keeping a food diary is the best way to understand your diet and can help an you become more aware of your eating habits, the many triggers and cues that influence what you eat. In fact, studies show that people who keep a food diary are more successful at changing their eating habits and losing weight.
There are two ways for you to keep a detailed food diary, paper based or using an app.
A free and easy to use app is myfitnesspal, the app is available via the website or via mobile app stores and has a free version to get you started. Very simple to use, scanning bar codes and a massive directory or food types to search. all you need to do is weight the food or add the amount eaten from the pack scanned. This will build a detailed food diary as per the example shown.
An additional benifit if you already track your training activity via a device or website myfitnesspal connects with most of the main tools such as Garmin where there is two way information from myfitnesspal to Garmin Connect.
If you are keeping a paper based diary below are some tips for getting the most out of a food diary:
- be as detailed as you can with food descriptions
- include serving sizes – weigh foods where possible
- rateing your hunger level just before you eat – this will help you identify whether you are eating for reasons other than hunger
- if you feel emotional eating is an issue you should record your mood before and after you eat
- carry the food diary with you and update as you eat, rather than waiting until the end of the day
What should you record?
The basics are to record;
- When you eat
- What you eat
- Rate Hunger on a scale of 1 – 10 (1 being very full and 10 being starving)
- Who were you with
Example Food diary
|What you ate||Time||Where you ate||Who where you with||Rate – Hunger||Mood|
|Breakfast||1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10|
|Snack (1)||1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10|
|Lunch||1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10|
|Dinner||1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10|
|Snack (2)||1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10|
With the information gained from a food diary your NWM advisor can understand eating habits, identify any social and emotional cues and habits. This with the food and drink detail your NWM advisor can build the correct plan, including;
- Understanding your actual nutrition and calorie intake
- Preform nutritional analysis
- Advise on food-based recommendations within dietary guidelines
- Help improve your diets nutritional quality using nutritional analysis