Diet Logging: Using an App
If you are the type of person who carries your phone with you everywhere you go, then using an app may be the best way to diet log! Apps are great because you are typically able to access a huge database of foods that come complete with the nutritional information already entered for you. Many apps also allow you to “build” your own foods by inputting the ingredients to recipes that you make regularly so you can select them quickly.
Many people who don’t like apps complain about how they get bogged down in the details around using it. Having to figure out how many servings you should enter for each food, manually selecting every aspect of each meal you eat, and feeling like the calorie counts are different from what you are actually eating are some of the impediments to feeling satisfied with using an app. It can also be time consuming to enter each item of your meals and the correct serving sizes each time you eat.
But, when compared with the other methods of diet logging, using an app to record your meals is unparalleled in the amount of information you can get afterward about your diet. Whether you are tracking serving sizes, times, calories, macros, or even specific nutrients, you should be able to get a great picture of your dietary trends and progress!
Diet Logging: Photo Logging
A picture is worth a thousand words, and it’s a heck of a lot faster than writing down everything you are eating! I found the best way to photo log is to prepare your entire meal and then take a picture of the composed meal all at once. If you are the type of person that doesn’t finish your meals, then you can snap another photo at the end to show what was not eaten.
The main downside to photo logging is all of the memory it takes up! You will be taking between 3 and 8 pictures per day, which adds up pretty quickly! If you are going to make a long term commitment to photo logging, you may want to start using Google Drive, Dropbox, or an external hard drive to store your photos. Or, you could just be that person that uploads everything you eat to Instagram, but that’s your decision to make.
Aside from being faster than traditional diet logging, you will also have a perfect record of what you ate. This method may be particularly helpful if you are working with a coach who can review your portion sizes with you and help you make any changes that are necessary.
Diet Logging: A Food Journal
If you are a Luddite trying to shun the electronic sorcery that so many of your peers espouse, then you might just want to try a good ol’ food journal. If you can operate a pen and a piece of paper, then you can get started with your food journal right away!
This doesn’t have the advantages of drawing on a huge database of information like an app will or having the perfect recall of a photograph, but there is no lower barrier to entry than writing down what you eat throughout the day. Food journals come in a variety of forms, whether it be an actually book you carry around or a piece of paper that you stuff in your back pocket, but whatever form it takes you should make sure to write down every single item you consume throughout the day. You can also take advantage of the ease of use to write down some additional information like how you are feeling when you eat each meal and what times you eat.
No matter what form of diet logging you decide to pursue, you should definitely try out this technique to help advance your dietary goals! If you would like to learn more about how to eat properly for your goals, you should contact our coaches about our Complete Nutrition program!