It may seem a little outdated but sometimes the best things are things that are tried & true, like keeping a food diary. Ok, so this diary is a little different than that middle school diary you use to write in every night.
One of my favorite things about a food diary is that it puts the ownership on you, cue that big word, ACCOUNTABILITY. Accountability is so important when trying to stick with a new nutrition plan and what is better than having someone you are accountable to 24/7? Regardless of why you might come see me as a dietitian, I almost always recommend a food diary. Why? Well, it gives me great insight of what your current pattern of eating looks like and where I can help you hurdle those daily obstacles that prevent you from reaching your goals. Besides the accountability and support a food diary offers, I myself find it insightful and meaningful to the author. Sure, it feels great when you get to write down all the great things you are eating…..but you know what? It really makes you think twice before you eat too much of those not-so-good things because you know you have to write it down (there is just something with putting pen to paper to make it feel real). Of course it’s not just as easy as writing down you had spaghetti for dinner. A good food diary will include [measured] serving sizes and all those nutrients, like calories, fats, protein, and carbs, that go with those foods (hint: use an app on your phone or computer to simplify the process!). In a few weeks time you’ll become an expert of what foods work in your plan and which foods don’t – or more so what is worth it!
Need an example?
Breakfast: 1/3 cup 0% Total FAGE Greek Yogurt with 1/4 cup Wholee Granolee Granola and a drizzle of honey and 6 oz. of Black Coffee mixed with ice & 2 oz. of Skim Milk
Am Snack: 10 Honey Toasted Pecans If you haven’t had these yet, you seriously need to try them out in the Reasor’s bulk department. I am honestly surprised I could stop at 10 they are sooooo good!
Lunch: Homemade Smoothie with 1 cup Kale, 1/4 cup Carrots, 1 cup Frozen Unsweetened Mixed Fruit, 1/2 bottle of Organic Valley Balance, 2 Tbsp. FAGE Yogurt, and 2 tsp. Ground Flax. I was even able to squeeze in 10 minutes of yoga on my break to help refresh my mind and body for when I returned to work! (high five)
Afternoon Snack: 1 cup Green Tea (yes, I brew it myself from loose leaf!), 15 Dry Roasted Pistachios, 1/2 cup Unsweetened Applesauce. After work I went on a 30 minute bike ride with my husband and was even able to squeeze in another 20 minutes of yoga to really get myself unwound for the evening and properly stretched.
Dinner: Loaded sweet potatoes! 1 small Baked Sweet Potato topped with 1/2 an Avocado, 2 tbsp. Feta, 1/3 cup Black Beans, a little diced Red Onion, and 1/4 cup of Rotel (yes, I have always loved veggies, just ask my mom, I was that weird kid who ate a bunch of broccoli instead of candy!)
Breakfast: Wait, what? Oops, I am TERRIBLE at eating breakfast on the weekends because routine goes out the window and I like to sleep in wayyy too late.
Lunch:3/4 cup Orange Chicken homemade with 1/2 cup of Sorghum (literally, my favorite grain – plus it is a whole grain!)
Dinner: Today is my cousin’s wedding, so you have been forewarned for what you are about to read. 1 glass of Pink Lemonade, 6 oz. Pulled Pork, 4 tbsp. BBQ Sauce, 1/2 cup Potato Salad, 1/2 cup Pasta Salad, 1/2 cup Veggies (carrots, cucumber, and cherry tomatoes) with 1 tbsp. Ranch Dip (every Oklahoman’s favorite), and 1 roll.
But wait, are those bacon topped donuts!!!??? Ok, so I had to partake, because bacon. (win – I didn’t eat it all, in fact I split it with my table) but did I forget to mention I also tried a salted caramel donut and some of my mom’s tootsie pop donut? (<-or so we think?)
Oops.I would like to take this time to thank my cousin for an open (donut) bar at his wedding. People dance at weddings right? Because now more than ever I really need to squeeze in that exercise I brushed off earlier today. But wait, there’s more! Yeah, my husband and I might have also stopped some where to eat tacos because who wants to cook after driving an hour and a half home, we haven’t grocery shopped in a week, and well I typically eat every 3-4 hours because I get hangry.
So what did I learn by keeping a food diary?
1. Even bad days are not a failure – just an opportunity for improvement
2. Keeping a routine can help my nutrition, next time I will keep a better plan for myself
3. While, I didn’t go crazy at his wedding, I also didn’t make a lot of great choices. At the next big occasion, I will make sure to add in more balance when it comes to food and exercise
4. I get a little less specific with recording my foods on the days I know I haven’t done well. Being honest with myself is the only way I can do better and honestly the only way I can help you to reach your goals!
Information included does not constitute medical advice and should only be used as a general recommendation for a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle. Reasor’s Registered Dietitian’s opinions and recommendations are her own; she is not paid to endorse any products or services.