At your first session with a Health Coach, you might get a little piece of homework: Write a food journal. For the uninitiated, the idea of writing down every bite of food that you eat on a daily basis may sound a bit daunting. No doubt, food journaling can certainly be time-consuming, especially if you’re closely tracking what you’re eating. But many people find that making note of what they eat encourages them to be a little more mindful about what they snack on all day long.
It’s certainly an excellent tool for determining eating habits—which is why Health Coaches often start with a client’s food journal. However, just as there is no on-size-fits-all approach to food – there is no one right way of food journaling that works for everyone. If you find writing every little detail in a journal exhausting rather than dropping the habit try one of these three non-conventional approaches to the traditional food journal!
There’s something so simple about snapping a pic of your food before digging in that makes it easy to commit to keeping a photo food journal. The wonderful thing about documenting your meals with images is that you’ll be able to get a truly accurate representation of exactly what you ate without getting caught up with measurements or calorie counts. It’s pretty easy to instantly see if you got your daily dose of green veggies every day, or if you went a little overboard on the sugary snacks.
Hold yourself accountable by making an Instagram account dedicated to your food journal (it can be private, if you don’t want to flood your friends’ feeds with snaps of your breakfasts!) or even just making a separate folder in your phone to hold your images.
Apps like MyFitnessPal and MyPlate are meant for those counting calories, but they actually work very well as a food journal replacement. Because these apps are so analytically driven, they track everything from calories ingested to the vitamin count of your meals. Another plus? They have a large searchable database of foods and ingredients, so it’s quick and easy to type in your meal. Instead of focusing on how many calories you’ve eaten, pay attention to how
Instead of paying attention to the calorie count, focus on getting the most nutrients (vitamins, minerals, fiber, macronutrients) possible from every meal.
Writing in a gratitude journal at the beginning or end of your day is an amazing way to bring more thankfulness and joy into your life—and if can also be a great way to ease into writing a food journal. Instead of writing about every morsel of food you ingested in a 24-hour period, make a note of whatever you ate that nourished your body the most. Yes, it’s a more hands-off approach to food journaling, but it can bring awareness to what you did well as opposed to highlighting where your eating choices went “wrong” (like when you went a little overboard on the cheese plate or had one too many glasses of wine at dinner).
Do you have a favorite method of food journaling? Share with us in the comments below!