If you’re ready to take charge of your health and reach your goals, this printable food diary template is just what you need!
Many times, people aren’t aware of how much they’re really eating throughout the day. If you’re someone who’s constantly grazing, finishing your child’s meals, or on the go, you may be consuming way more calories than you think.
Before I started paying attention to what I was eating, I was confused by my difficulty to lose weight. In my mind, I was eating 3 healthy meals per day, and yet the weight was still sticking.
However, once I took the initiative to write down everything I was picking at all day long I was shocked to see how much I was truly eating!
Try to keep a food diary and gain helpful insight into how many calories you’re eating each day and what you’re actually eating.
How to Use the Printable Food Diary Template
Pick a start date that you know you’ll be eating “normally” for you. Don’t choose to start on a holiday or a day that you’re traveling because these will likely be different than your usual intake.
Many people tend to eat similarly throughout the week, so a Monday is usually a good day to start.
I recommend people record everything they eat for 7 days including snacks and meals. Additionally, make sure to record everything you drink whether it’s water, coffee, or juice or soda.
Be honest with yourself and even if you know you overindulged, write it down. If you’re not truthful in your food diary, it will not be as beneficial for you in the long run.
If you’re eating something pre-packaged, turn the package over and see what the typical serving size is. Try to figure out how many servings you consumed when you record it in your diary.
It is a little more difficult to calculate exact calories from home cooked meals, but these are the basic eating guidelines from health.gov:
- 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day
- 2 cups of fruit per day
- 6 oz of grains per day
- 5 1/2 oz of protein per day
- 27 g of oils per day
- Limit calories from added sugars
Analyze Your Food Diary
After you complete your food diary for one week, it’s time to analyze what you typically eat.
Don’t punish yourself or feel guilty at this point.
The goal of this exercise is to become aware of any problem areas in your diet.
If you don’t take the time to realize where you struggle, changes will never occur.
Add Up Total Calories Per Day
The first thing to review is how many calories you typically consume per day. Add up everything you ate and drank each day. Next, use this calorie calculator to figure out approximately how many calories you should consume each day.
If you consumed a lot more calories than recommended, you can either try to reduce snacking or portion size. Try to remain within the recommended amount of calories on average.
If you eat significantly fewer calories than recommended every day, this isn’t good either.
When you don’t consume enough calories, you actually trigger your body to hold on to food longer for fear of starving. Your metabolism will slow down and you’ll actually gain weight.
Look for Patterns of What Time You Eat
Next, review the time of day you typically eat. Look over the past week and see if you tend to consume most of your calories after
Take note of any days that you may have overindulged. How were you feeling that day, were you particularly stressed or tired?
Review Types of Foods You Eat
Next, look over what you typically eat. Do you eat vegetables every day? Are you eating them multiple times per day? Do you tend to eat a lot of chips or snack foods?
If you have one “off” day, that is okay.
We need to treat ourselves sometimes and balance our lives. However, if you’re never eating vegetables, this is something that certainly should be adjusted.
What Do You Drink Throughout the Day?
Finally, review what you’re drinking each day. If you’re a soda drinker, it is really time to reconsider. I understand flexibility in diet and treating yourselves to certain indulgences, but soda is the one (or one of the only things) I always avoid.
Soda doesn’t contain any nutritional benefits, is harmful for your kidneys, and is loaded with sugar and empty calories. Diet soda is even worse for you since it typically contains aspartame which is both carcinogenic and proven to increase food cravings and overeating.
So if you’re a soda drinker, this would be the first thing I recommend stopping.
Otherwise, try to see if you’re consuming enough water each day. The recommended amount of water is at least 6 8-ounce glasses.
If you’re ready to commit to a healthier lifestyle, join me for my 30-day weight loss challenge. Learn how to end yo-yo dieting for good and finally reach your healthy weight!
Food journaling is the best way to gain helpful insight into your diet and to learn where changes need to be made.
Access my free printable food diary template and begin your journey towards better health.