A personal food diary is a great way to keep yourself on the right course and sustain overall good health.
When it’s written there in front of you, it’s irrefutable.
Keeping a food diary will show you exactly how much and what sort of food you are eating.
Why is it important?
It is crucial to know exactly how much and what types of food you are eating as it’s all about learning to understand your eating habits and establishing a healthy relationship with food.
A food diary will highlight problem areas and enable you to put plans and preparations in place to overcome them.
For example: Problem meal – Lunch, most days you purchase from a bakery or lunch bar as you are always on the go, or you skip it altogether.
Solution – prepare a healthy lunch the night before and put in the fridge already to go the next day or have last nights leftovers.
What are the rules for keeping a diary?
There are no rules about how to keep a food diary. However the most important thing to remember is to write down everything you eat and drink. Excluding snacks, pre-dinner nibbles or the odd glass of wine will mean you are only being dishonest to yourself and sabotaging your own efforts.
How long do you have to keep a food diary for?
There are no set time frames. Some people can see where they are going astray after a couple of weeks and can start to correct the bad habits. For others it may take longer to change the problem areas and develop healthy eating habits.
How do you change the old habits?
The key to this is taking little steps. Changing a couple of things at a time will make it easier and not such an enormous task that you may just give up on.
Start with breakfast; make sure the cereal is low in sugar, try something with oats or bran, swap full milk to trim and have a piece of fruit.
Another simple thing to watch for is dressings on salads and in sandwiches, they can be full of hidden calories. Have your meal without the creamy dressings and what you do choose, ask for it on the side so you are in control of how much you eat.
Once these things become automatic, look at the next area you can make changes in.
How much is as important as what you eat!
As a whole we eat way too much, our plates are bigger, meal sizes at cafes and restaurants are large, yet we eat it all!
Portion control is an easy step to take at the start. Rule of thumb here is:
- red meat = the size of your palm
- white meat and fish = the size of your hand
- carbohydrates = the size of your fist
- half the plate filled with salad/vegetables
Once you have a better understanding of the types of food, how much and when you eat, you will be able to make changes and plan healthy, well balanced meals that will help you maintain good health and wellbeing.