Starting a Food Diary
If you just found out you have diabetes, someone on your healthcare team has
probably recommended keeping a food diary. It's a good way to keep track of
exactly what you're eating and how these foods affect your blood sugar. If you're
trying to lose weight, a food diary provides a handy snapshot that can show
you where you need to make changes.
Keep these tips in mind as you begin keeping track of the food you eat:
- Keep a notebook with you throughout the day, and record what you eat as
you go. It's hard to remember everything if you wait until the end of the
- Write down the times you eat too.
- Take note of your portion sizes. You don't have to describe them in ounces.
Instead, write about how many cups of a food you had, or the size of it, etc.
- Don't forget to record things that were included in your food, such as butter,
mayonnaise, gravy and cheese.
- Make sure to record your snacks as well. Even a few crackers count.
- Keep track of drinks. Juices, sodas and milk have calories and sugar, so
it's important to remember that they're a part of your daily food intake.
It may also be helpful to keep track of what your moods were when you were
eating, what was going on at the time, who you were with and anything else that
seems relevant. This kind of information can give you more insight into what
triggers you to eat (and perhaps to overeat).
You don't have to keep a food diary for the rest of your life. As time goes
buy, you'll get a better handle on what you need to do to get your food intake
under control. After several months go by, it will become more and more automatic
to choose the right foods in the right amounts.
Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center