Food Journaling 101

If you have never kept a food journal, I encourage you to do so. It can be quite an eye opening experience. The first time I kept a food journal was when I was a teenager. I was shocked at how many calories I actually consumed and was able to keep my slim physique of 110 pounds. Today I am not so lucky. I have to constantly remind myself that what passes the lips sticks to the hips, or stomach in my case. Back then analyzing a food journal was tedious. You had to look up each food item in a book, record your results and add them up. Trust me, it’s a very long process. Today Dietitians are fortunate to have software to analyze a food journal. But you can do it yourself.
First, lets talk about the food journal. One FAQ is: How long do I have to keep a food journal? Food Journals are usually kept for 3 days or longer. But studies have shown that a one day food journal can help you make positive changes in your diet. 🙂 There are only 2 things you need to record in your food journal – every food and beverage item that you put in your mouth and the amount of each item (cups, tsp/tbsp, ounces). That’s it. You can also record time, place, who you dined with, activity and mood. But, lets just keep it simple for now.
Now that you have completed your 1 day food journal, you will need it analyzed. A dietitian can do this for you or you can use free software on the net. It’s easy. These are the ones I use and recommend and are user friendly: http://nat.crgq.com/mainnat.html or http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/menuplanner/menu.cgi
But if analyzing your food is beyond what you want to do, you can always hire a Dietitian to do it for you.
Happy Food Journaling,
TheMenuCoach
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