How do I log my daily expenses

How to keep a food diary

Status: October 15, 2019 1:02 p.m. | archive

Finding out intolerances, losing weight or improving chronic illnesses through more conscious eating: a food diary is invaluable help for this. Such an inventory is the basis of a successful change in diet, because it provides valuable input for the questions: "How much do I have to change in order to achieve my goal? And what exactly?"

Anyone who logs their daily food intake quickly has a lot of aha-moments: habits, patterns and connections between food and complaints become recognizable. Even those who believe they are already eating consciously often only really get to know their own diet through a diary.

Diary form - analog or digital?

Whether notes, notebooks or electronically stored: Above all, the diary should always be with you.

Whether you choose the classic paper form or a digital version for your diary is above all a matter of taste. It is important to make yourself as comfortable as possible, because the diary should be a constant companion for weeks and should be maintained several times a day.

If you enjoy beautiful notebooks, get a copy in DIN A5 or slightly larger and create columns in it according to our template - and you're ready to go. Those who like to work on a computer or tablet can use spreadsheet programs. Advantage: They allow a quick search afterwards, for example for certain foods or symptoms.

Apps: Suitable to a limited extent

Nutrition apps are a chapter in their own right.

Smartphone users will find dozens of apps on the subject of nutrition (see info box below). The vast majority of apps focus on counting calories and are therefore not suitable as an aid for a real change in diet. For some, however, they work as support for self-control or for motivation.

What information should be in the diary?

In the diary you write down what and how much you eat and drink, when and how you feel afterwards. First rule: be conscientious and honest! And be quick - because the biscuit you ate in the afternoon is usually long forgotten in the evening.

For the sake of clarity, log each day on one page, with the date at the top. In addition, a note should be made as to whether the day was off work or a normal working day, because most people have different habits. Below are the columns:

  • Enjoy the meal: Breakfast, lunch and dinner are the main meals - in between and afterwards many people have small "snacks". This also includes beverages containing calories such as coffee with milk in the afternoon or beer in front of the television in the evening.
  • Time: On the one hand, noting the time as precisely as possible helps to identify negative habits such as snacking. On the other hand, it is important if you want to establish connections between a consumed food and digestive problems or other symptoms.
  • Place / way: Where did it take place - at home, with friends, in a restaurant or on the go? Especially if you have problems with eating behavior, write down here in as much detail as possible: In front of the television? At the desk? What is the motivation: hunger? Or just appetite, frustration, habit, boredom? This information can be extremely valuable in building healthier habits.
  • Eat: Everything really counts here - from the sumptuous Sunday brunch to the chewy candy! The better the description, the more reliable the evaluation will be. What exactly was on the sandwich, in the casserole? The composition is particularly important in the case of intolerance. Instead of "pasta with sauce and cheese", it would be better to use "1 ½ plate of wholemeal pasta with tomato and mince sauce + 3 tbsp. Of course you can get much more detailed and work with the kitchen scales. However, this is more worthwhile in the case of computer-aided evaluation by nutritionists or apps. Approximate portion sizes are sufficient to recognize structures.
  • Beverages: All drinks, even water, are carefully noted here with their quantities.
  • Complaints: How do you feel about 15 minutes after consuming it? Now the stomach has started to break it down. Are you feeling unwell? Does the body call for something sweet? Bowel or other complaints often only appear after a few hours.
  • Notes, particulars: Record anything unusual here - for example "Birthday, colleague bought one" or "Too late for shopping, refrigerator empty". The column can also be used for individualization: "Medication", for example, should be added by those who take new medication or suspect that they cannot tolerate their medication.

Anyone looking for weight loss should also check the type and duration of the daily diet Move enter. But not the weight - it is enough to weigh yourself once a week.

Evaluate the food diary

After taking stock, it's time to take stock and change things.

Usually after about 14 days, patterns in the way of eating become apparent: When do you snack on unhealthy foods? On what occasions do you eat more or differently than you intended? Perhaps you thought that you eat a lot of healthy and freshly cooked food on your days off - and you realize that the truth is the opposite is the case. How did eating affect your well-being? What made you feel full, what caused cravings, heartburn or other ailments? You can check your diet based on the therapy recommendations of the nutrition docs and try to take stock. Now make it clear to yourself: what do you want to change? Write your most important goals in the journal.

Phase two: introduce changes and keep track of them

The diary is an excellent companion when changing your diet. Keep logging - honestly write down any slip-ups from the newly formulated nutrition plan, because they always happen. Stay tuned, it's worth it! Your protocol will show you whether the path you have taken is the right one or whether you need to readjust again.

The diary can be a great motivator for you because it shows in black and white what you have achieved.

Help from nutritionists

You may find that it is difficult for you to draw the right conclusions from your diary for yourself - perhaps because it is not clear which foods keep causing discomfort, or because you have several diseases that require different diets. Or you would like support with the changeover. Then at the latest, nutritionists or nutritionists are the right address. Your diary is a valuable basis for the specialists.

Diary and calorie counter apps

The range of nutrition or fitness apps is almost unmanageable. Most of them are "calorie balance calculators": if you enter all of the food ingested accurately, the app evaluates the daily amount consumed and calorie intake. In many cases, movement can be logged or a fitness watch can be connected to count steps and calories burned. That can have a motivating effect, as can the partly accessible community function - networking with other app users.

Plus points:

  • There are individual apps that, in addition to calories, also (mostly for a fee) offer the evaluation according to nutrients: proportion of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber. This makes it easier for interested laypeople to optimize their menu with a view to the nutritional values.
  • For those affected by intolerance, special so-called nutrition and symptom diaries can be of great help.

Minuses:
  • Although packaged foods are often recognized by barcode scanners, entering them can be very tedious, especially at the beginning.
  • The apps in the basic version are often free of charge, but they are financed either through advertising or data sales - and / or you only get access to the complete food database or precise evaluations through in-app purchases.
  • Habits and patterns (when, where, how to eat / drink) are not clear.

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The Nutritional Docs | 10/14/2019 | 9:00 p.m.