Food Diary-Advantages and Guidelines



Published on: 12-Jul-2022


10 min read


Updated on : 28-Nov-2023



Food Diary-Advantages and Guidelines

Food Diary-Advantages and Guidelines

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We all have written diaries at some time in our lives stating all that has happened all day. Did you ever mention the packets of wafers or apple slices eaten in a day?

Writing a food diary is definitely for you if you are trying to manage your diet for a healthier body. 

 A food journal is a daily record of what and when you eat and drink. It is an excellent tracker that lets you and your doctor analyse your dietary practices and make necessary nutritional changes to help you with your health goal.

A food journal can help you pinpoint the items you eat regularly, both healthy and harmful. 

According to the Weight Reduction Study conducted on around 1700 participants, maintaining a food journal can change people's behaviour, especially those who wish to lose weight. It has been observed that those who kept daily meal records lost twice the weight. It is always advisable to maintain a food diary, whether your goal is weight loss, weight gain, managing medical conditions or any other.  

Table of Contents 

1. The Advantages Of Food Journaling

2. Guidelines For Maintaining a Food Diary

3. The Final Say

4. FAQ


The Advantages Of Food Journaling

1. Identifying The Dietary Pattern 

There are specific causes of cravings and food choices. Logging meals helps in figuring out the answers to questions-

  • Why do you eat without hunger?
  • What makes you prefer chocolate to fruit?
  • Why do you shop for certain goods at the supermarket?

 You can link your dietary choices to your well-being by keeping track of your energy level, mood, and satisfaction. You'll discover whether you eat more because of feeling sad, joyful, bored or dietary intolerances

2. Understanding The Effects Of Dining Partners

When you dine with friends and family, do you consume more food than when you go to lunch with coworkers or eat alone? 

Your eating partners influence what, how often, and how much you eat. Your food journal can identify these tendencies and help you make more personalised judgments.

3. Getting Rid of Mindless Eating

Consuming more than you should is a result of mindless eating.

A meal journal will help you develop self-control by allowing you to acknowledge your bad habits. If writing down everything you eat is difficult, you can always take pictures or utilise one of the many applications available.

4. Reconciling Perceptions and Reality

You may believe that you drink plenty of water and eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, but keeping a food record may reveal a different reality. 

You may discover that you require more variety in your meals by substituting maize and carrots for potato chips as side dishes.

5. Weight Loss

According to a study by Kaiser Center for Health Research in 2008, dieters who kept a meal journal for six months dropped twice as much weight as those who didn't.  

Witnessing the amount of unhealthy or unnecessary carbs, fat or calories instigates you to manage them for quick and effective weight loss.  

6. Identifying The Food Intolerance

Food diaries might also help determine whether you have severe food sensitivity. In some situations, reactions to various foods might occur hours after the item has been consumed. 

Observing and recording the post-consumption effects might help determine which foods cause your body to respond adversely. You may be intolerant to eggs, dairy, or gluten if you feel bloated and sick after eating them.

7. Controlling Your Portion Sizes

Keeping a food journal is also an excellent method to keep track of your serving sizes. When restaurants serve massive plates, and petrol stations serve soda in big glasses, keeping track of your servings is challenging. 

Cake tins and dinner dishes are also bigger than they've ever been. Before beginning your food diary, analyse the proper portion sizes and base your meals on them.

8. Nutritional Improvements

Recording your meals will disclose more than just your calorie consumption and intolerances. It will also indicate whether you are incorporating enough of each food group.

You aren't retaining enough vitamins from fruits and vegetables if most of your diet consists of carbohydrates and proteins. Keeping a food logbook will help you determine the lacking or extra nutrients.

9. Identifying Triggers

When maintaining a food journal, it's a good idea to include your location, time of day, and mood. These factors might illustrate how stress, work, or certain people influence your eating habits. 

If you go for a candy bar every time you walk into the office, there are chances that stressful situations may trigger you to seek sweet food. If you eat every meal standing up, you're likely speeding through it and consuming. 

Guidelines For Maintaining a Food Diary

Guidelines For Maintaining a Food Diary

  •  What should you record in your food journal?

Experts agree that accuracy and consistency are the keys to successful food journaling. So, what should you take notes on? A simple food diary should cover the following items:

  • What do you have on your plate?

Make a list of the eats and drinks you've had and how their preparation methods(baked, broiled, fried, etc.). Don’t forget to record sauces, condiments, dressings, and toppings.

  • What is your daily calorie intake?

List the quantity in cups, teaspoons, tablespoons, or ounces. It is ideal for weighing and measuring your meal. 

  • What time do you have your meal? 

Untimely eating needs extra attention because we generally end up munching on unhealthy snacks and drinks. The number of extra calories should be recorded and balanced. 

Keeping track of where you eat, what you're doing when you're eating, and how you're feeling while you're eating can help you understand your routine and provide further insight into the required changes.

  • Where are you going to eat? 

Observe where you're eating; at the dining table, restaurant, car, bedroom, down the street, or at a friend's house

  • What else are you doing while eating?

Are you working on your computer, watching TV, or conversing with a family member or friend?

  • Who are you dining with? 

Do you dine with your spouse, children, a friend, or a coworker, or do you eat alone?

  • What is your state of mind as you eat?

 Are you joyful, depressed, stressed, anxious, lonely, bored, or exhausted?

The Final Say

A food diary is the best-known way to examine your nutritional intake and dietary habits. It's a great way to detect your lousy eating habits and intolerances, which might delay your weight loss. This simple practice can promote controlled and mindful eating.


 1 Do I need to update the diary regularly?

Well, it depends upon you. Some people fill out a diary weekly and make sure to follow it thoroughly.

 2. It's a time-consuming task. Is it worth it?

A food diary gives you an idea about the foods that are good for your health. It might be time-consuming but beneficial, especially in achieving health goals. 

 3.  Does a food diary help you to know yourself better?

Indeed, it does. You can jot down your food preferences and food that you like, dislike or are intolerable.

About ToneOp

ToneOp is a platform dedicated to improving and maintaining your good health through a comprehensive range of goal-oriented diet plans and recipes. It also intends to provide value-added content to our consumers.  

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