Ugh, keeping a food log isn’t my favorite thing to do. And, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m horrible at it. I’ll do it for a week or two, then quit. I really don’t know why I struggle so much. It doesn’t take that much time. As I started my elimination diet yesterday, logging food is essential to my success. So, I’m doing my best to log every meal…
Anyway, if you’re trying to eat healthy and lose weight, keeping a food log is a must. But, why?
Why you should keep a food log…
- Food logs show you what you’re eating – While you may think you know what you’re eating, in my experience, keeping a food log is a very enlightening process. We imagine that we eating 3 meals and a healthy snack or two, often we don’t count the little nibbles and bites along the way.
- It can help you lose weight– It’s easy to dismiss just how much food you’re eating. A bite here, a nibble there…it all adds up. But, keeping a food log, of EVERY bite you take, helps you know exactly what you’re eating and how much. It’ll tell you just how many calories you’re eating, as well as your macronutrient percentages. This is all important information for anyone trying to shed a few pounds. According to WebMD, one study showed that people who kept a food log and had weekly support lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t keep a log.
- Helps keep your diet balanced – Knowing exactly what you’re eating throughout the day can help balance out your diet. It allows you to look back at your day and make adjustments. Maybe you realize that you’ve only eaten 1 serving of veggies, you can make sure to balance that out at dinner, by adding an extra serving.
- Helps with meal planning/meal prepping – I’ve found that food logs not only help with food I’ve already eaten, but helps me plan out future meals. I can go into the days ahead and add in my meals before hand, therefore planning out my week. This also helps with meal prep. The two go hand in hand.
- Helps you understand portion control – With a food log, you typically have a set caloric intake. Logging food allows you to better track your calorie intake, by learning about and controlling your portion sizes. You learn to spread your calories through out the day. Instead of 2 cups of pasta salad, which would take a good percentage of your daily calories, you know to only take 1 cup. You still get your pasta, just less of it.
Types of food logs and what I use…
Now that you know WHY you should be logging food, we need to discuss HOW to log food. There really is no hard and fast rule to a food log, as long as you log everything you eat and drink, in some way.
It all comes down to personal preference. It can be as easy as writing them down in a notebook or on a printable paper log, to using a smart phone app or developing a computer spreadsheet. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.
I’ve tried a few different methods of food logging, including trying out several smart phone apps. Using a paper log just isn’t for me. I prefer a smart phone app, since my phone is always with me, it makes logging easy.
After trying several phone apps, I find MY NET DIARY works best for me. I use the paid version, at about $5/month, which gives me the ability to track blood sugar levels and other extras. But the free version is wonderful as well. What do I like about it?
- They have a catalogue of over 761,000 different foods.
- Calculates a recommended daily calorie intake based on your activity level, weight and goal weight
- UPC scanning capability- meaning you can scan the barcode of a food, for ease of entry or if it can’t be found in the database.
- Create your own recipes. – This is a wonderful and easy to use aspect of this app.
- track individual nutrients
- track exercise – which is accounted for in the daily calorie intake
- track weight loss
- track body fat percentages
- track body measurements
- track all forms of health data – including resting heart rate, blood pressure cholesterol, etc
- links with my smart phone health app and other fitness devices – to track steps and other health info.
- tracks water – Most apps do this, but, I love the flexibility of this one. It doesn’t just give you 8 glasses to cross off, but gives you to 15 glasses and allows you to adjust the ounces per glass. For instance, I drink 180 ounces of water a day. I was able to adjust the ounces per glass from 8 to 12 ounces, allowing for the extra water intake.
I could go on. I’m sure there are other apps with these same capabilities, but, I just find My Net Diary relatively easy to use. Here’s a sample of my own diary from yesterday:
Other food log apps- Authority Nutrition’s 5 best calorie counter websites and apps
Lose It –
Free printable paper logs:
Weekly Food Log
From: Get Buttoned Up
Weekly Food Log
From: The Project Girl
Daily Food Log
From: The Freebee Mom
Daily Food Log
From: Built Lean
Other food log templates, apps and resources:
- 40 simple food log templates
- USDA super tracker
- WebMD food and fitness journal
- My food diary – CDC
- Food Log Template – 30+ Free Word, Excel, PDF Documents Download
- 5 free food journal templates
- National Institute of Health food diary
- Calorie King food tracking app
- My Macros food tracking app
- Fooducate food log
- Lifesum food and healthy living app
- My Plate food and fitness tracker from Livestrong
- My Diet Coach food tracker
Well, there you have it. Now you have no excuses. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you log your food, as long as you do. What’s your favorite food app? I want to know! 🙂
Have a beautiful day everyone!
God bless, Namaste!