A food journal is an excellent way to keep track of everything that you eat on any given day. By keeping a food journal, you can access what you're eating regularly, figure out what foods you should cut out of your diet altogether, find out how many calories you intake regularly and help yourself create a better diet for yourself. The truth is that most people go about their day and eat a snack here and a snack there, skip a meal, substitute it with a quick bite to eat before dinner and end up taking in more calories and grams of fat than they would probably care to admit. There's a good chance you are one of these people. If you are, keeping a food diary will help you eat better in the future once you realize what you can eliminate from your diet and what you should be eating that you're not eating today. Here is how to start your food journal.
Write Down Everything That You Eat
Whether you're chowing down on a five-course meal or just grabbing something from the vending machine after lunch, the most important thing to do when making a food journal is to write down everything you eat during the day. Preferably, you should group things according to when you are them. You also might want to make short notes about how you felt when you ate certain things, what you enjoyed, what you didn't enjoy and why you ate certain things (i.e. running late for work so grabbed a muffin, hungry in the afternoon so ate a chocolate bar, etc.) All of this information is incredibly helpful when you read it later and see all the things you could have avoided eating.
Find The Nutritional Values of Everything
Once you've kept track of everything you've eaten for a week or so, go back and find out the calories in everything you ate during the week as well as the grams of fat, carbohydrates, protein, etc. You can also keep track of these items throughout the week to make it easier for you. Try using Fitday's online journal to track your calories easily. This will make it easier for you to keep your food journal.
Analyze Your Food Journal
Once you've finished a week, it's time to sit down and take a good hard look at your food journal. The goal is to find out what foods you're eating that you could avoid. In particular, try and find foods that are high in calories, saturated fat and carbohydrates. If you want to lose weight, cutting out these foods should be your first step. Next, find out where you have deficiencies. You may realize that you're not eating enough vegetables or getting enough iron by keeping a food journal. You may not have even realized it before but a food journal can point these things out.
This is the easiest way to keep a food journal. Of course, you can keep the food journal for a longer amount of time if you'd like, too. The more you can find ways to tweak your diet, the healthier you will be.