On the 9th Day of Wellness: Keep a Food Diary

Food Log Today’s healthy habit challenge is one that few people enjoy, but it can be so very powerful. Keeping a food diary, even for just a few days, can help you discover what’s lacking in your diet and what you’re getting too much of. It can help you identify sources of empty calories and pinpoint those foods or beverages that are your “worst offenders.”

In my book, Reboot Your Body, I explain why a food log is an important tool for weight loss and how to use it to your greatest advantage. I then provide a number of exercises that use the food diary to help improve the quality of the diet while reducing the number of calories consumed daily. That would be a tall order for one day, so today all we’re going to focus on is logging a single meal. Choose breakfast, lunch or dinner today and record what you ate. Then, use one of the tools below to input your meal and see how many calories and grams of protein, saturated fat, sugars and fiber your meal contained. While there are many other nutrients that can determine how healthy a meal is, as a general rule, if grams of protein and fiber are higher than grams of saturated fat and sugars, then you’re on the right track. (Hint: Plants will help you get there!)

Whenever I log my food, I use the MyFitnessPal app or website. You will have to create an account and profile if you don’t already have one. If you don’t want to do that, then you can use the food database at NutritionData.self.com to manually tabulate the components of your meal. These are both great resources for tracking what you’ve already eaten or (better yet) planning your meals and snacks ahead of time.

Food logging is a bit time consuming, but if you can keep a detailed log for a few days every month or so, it can really help keep you on track.

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