There’s no doubt that food choices play a massive role in nearly every facet of your health. The thing is, most people have no idea what they’re eating. You may look at your week and say, “yeah, I ate pretty well,” forgetting about the chocolate bars, chips, sodas and French fries that were sprinkled in. A few high calorie or high-sugar days can sabotage your plans for a healthier life.
There’s research showing that one of the best ways to make changes to unhealthy eating habits is by tracking foods. Filling in a food diary or using a food-tracking app can make it very difficult to forget about what you ate throughout the day. Here are the components of a useful food tracker:
- Include the date and day of the week in entries: Also, write down the time of day you ate. It can help identify patterns and allow you to make feeding adjustments if necessary.
- Include everything that goes in: Enter every single thing that you eat or drink. Pay attention to the amount, and include data like calories, sugar, fats, and proteins. Indicate your portion size too.
- Indicate the setting: Write down where you were when you ate. Whether it was a restaurant, your table, the car, or your desk at work. Maybe you were snacking when walking through the mall or on the couch. Also, write down whether you were alone.
- Note what you were doing when eating: Were you out for a meal with friends, socializing, talking on the phone, or watching television by yourself? Indicating what you were doing can help you identify when you eat.
- Write down your mood: Were you feeling happy, sad, or stressed? This information can also help you identify eating habits.
- Take a picture: Taking a picture of what you’re eating can also help you remember when filling in your diary and recalling serving sizes.
To keep things as accurate as possible, fill in your food diary or tracker within about 15-minutes of eating and record everything to provide the most accurate picture.