How & why to keep a food diary

Keeping a  food diary has many benefits, one of which is that it helps you in your weight loss, so here’s some advice on how you can complete one.

Check out this document for free FOOD DIARY TEMPLATES!

Remember the benefits of keeping a diary- you acknowledge what you’re eating, helps you identify what triggers any poor food choices or eating patterns like skipping meals, helps detect any possible food intolerance’s, shows if you are lacking any nutrients or food groups, could stop you from overeating, you can visibly see whether you need to exercise more and it helps set or keep goals such as drinking 2 litres of water a day. Remembering these benefits encourages you to keep at it!

Write down as much detail as possible- what you ate, what you drank, how much roughly (handful, measurements or ‘small’), time you ate,  include any exercise details, how you felt before and after and  who you were with or what you were doing before. This will help you identify any eating patterns like when you are most likely to binge eat, snack on sugary foods or if you are not drinking enough water.

Use different resources- If you don’t want to write it down, if you have a smart phone there are many apps you can use such as my fitness pal that even scans certain products which can save you time!

Be honest- it’s only yourself you are deceiving , write down everything! Even if its 5 skittle sweets! If you have just a tiny handful of sweets a day, say it’s 100 calories that could be 10 lbs weight gain each year! Remember there are 3,500 calories in 1 lb of fat!

Make it fun-  use a notebook you love (whether it has cute dogs on it or your favorite avengers character!) If you don’t fancy that, you can use colour codes such a traffic light system on how good or bad you felt after eating it, use smiley or grumpy faces or even a scale 1-10 on how full the food made you feel after. Also you could have a comment box where you can put which meals were your favorite, the tastiest etc. Making it fun will make it more enjoyable and less like a chore, but it also helps you analyse how you feel about your food choices.

Write it down as you go- Trying to remember what you  ate at the end of the day when you’re tired is a hard thing to do! You may forget certain snacks you had therefore miscalculating your calorie intake. You also forget how you felt at the time so it doesn’t give you a clear indication if you eat for comfort, if you are low on energy or if you are mad etc. If you don’t have time, then try writing it twice a day rather than at each meal or snack.

Measure where you can- Writing down just ‘cereal’ for breakfast is fine but if you can put the weight such as ’40g’ that gives a better idea of the amount of calories consumed. Knowing how much calories you consume a day helps see if you are overeating or under eating, so you can then see what needs to change to help you achieve your weight goals. (It is possible to gain/maintain weight not eating enough calories!)

Note circumstances- writing down problems or issues you had or felt during the day, can help you recognise if this affected your eating or drinking. Knowing if circumstances affects your eating will be the first step for you making a change or putting actions in place to prevent this.

There are no right or wrong ways in keeping a diary, you can’t get it wrong! I’ve created examples of food diary templates to give you ideas for your own or to use for free just click here! Happy recording!


Healthy regards,


Leigh Scott x





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