Food journaling

A food journal not only provides you with a day to day food meal visual, but it’s a great tool for those wanting to improve their food choices and can potentially lead to shopping smarter.

Have you ever thought of or been asked to remember what foods you consumed lately? Let’s face it, life is extremely busy for the average individual, including those with families. Whatever the case may be for you, food journaling is a best practice that you may consider trying. A food journal not only provides you with a day to day food meal visual, but it’s a great tool for those wanting to improve their food choices and can potentially lead to shopping smarter! Yes, tracking your food may help you budget for your weekly grocery shopping.

You could use a regular journal book or choose to use an electronic version, whatever suits your needs. The key here is to keep the journaling process as simple as possible to your rhythm. Keep it next to your night stand and journal before going to bed, or carry it with you throughout the day to pencil in your consumption of food. If you journaled as a child or adult, this activity can bring some bitter sweet nostalgia. Here is a sample to help plant the seed in your mind of what a food journal may look like:

What did you eat and drink today?

Breakfast- Food Item and Description

How much did you eat?

Example: Oatmeal, strawberry flavor, instant

½ cup

Glass of milk

1 cup

 

Lunch- Food Item and Description

How much did you eat?

Example: Peanut Butter Sandwich

2 whole wheat slices, teaspoon of peanut butter

Cup of cranberry juice

1 cup

 

Dinner- Food Item and Description

How much did you eat?

Example: Chicken Pizza

2 slices

Soda, diet

½ can (20oz can)

 

List Snacks & Additional Beverages

How much did you eat?

Example: apple

Small size

Strawberry banana smoothie

20 oz

When deciding your food choices for your daily meals, Michigan State University Extension encourages all Americans to include foods from the five Choose My Plate food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy for a sound balanced diet. Remember, keeping track of your food intake is a smart step to a healthier lifestyle for you and your loved ones.

For more resources on how to track your food or food journaling, please visit the below sites:

  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Super Tracker portal- this web based program provides you with personalized nutrition plans, tracks your foods activities, and provides helpful tips for healthier choices.
  • Nutrition’s Food Shopping and Menu Planning
  • Consider using the Center for Disease Control’s My Food Diary template.

Michigan State University Extension offers various educational programs for adults, families, and children. For learn more about our services, please visit Michigan State University Extension.

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