How to Keep a Food Journal

Writing down what you eat helps you take a critical look at your food habits and make healthy changes. Here are some tips.

Photo by Hector Sanchez

Write down what you eat on three weekdays and one weekend day, using the following guidelines:

  • Record everything you eat and drink immediately.
  • Note what you're doing while you're eating―driving, watching TV, etc.
  • Describe how you felt while you ate: angry, sad, happy, nervous, starving, bored?
  • Be honest. It's a journal, not a newsletter, and no one has to see it but you.
  • At the end of each day, examine how your emotions affected your eating.

Every day, try to make sure that you're getting at least:

  • 9 servings of whole-grain cereal, rice, or pasta (1/2 cup) or bread (1 slice).
  • 5 servings of fruits and vegetables (1/2 cup).
  • 3 servings of low-fat milk, yogurt, or cottage cheese (1 cup).
  • 8 ounces of lean meat, poultry, or fish or a nonmeat equivalent (1 ounce of meat = 1 egg, 1/2 cup beans, or 2 to 3 ounces of tofu).

Use the Food Journal Worksheet to keep it all organized.