Food journals are an excellent way to improve our nutrition. Most days we don’t realize how much we are eating or what exactly we are putting in our bodies. This week’s nutrition tip is about starting a food journal. It doesn’t have to be everyday for the rest of your life. Just start with one day or two days. Maybe decide to write three or four days each week, just enough so you can get a good idea of your eating habits.

Food journaling can shed some light on what exactly we are eating. We may think we are eating fairly healthily, but discover that we aren’t getting enough fruits or veggies. Or we may have the opposite and find out we are eating better than we thought we were. Either way it is a good idea to take stock of what we are eating.

Keeping track of how much we are eating is another good reason to keep a food journal. We have heard over and over again that portion sizes are out of control. Which is true, but how are you doing? Add serving sizes/number of servings as you journal what you are eating. You may be shocked to see that what you thought was a serving is really two or three servings. If that is the case you are have to do a little math and figure out the nutrition facts.

Documenting why you are eating is a good way dig a little deeper into your habits. Are you eating because you are hungry? Is it habit (a certain time of day or snacking habit)? Are you eating because you are stressed, angry, sad, happy, depressed, anxious, tired, bored, avoiding something? If you find you are over eating looking at the whys and then finding different ways to deal with those things will help you cut back on your food intake.

Finally take a minute and write down how you feel after you eat. Are you upset? Do you feel happy? Did you find relief? Do you feel sick from eating too much? Are you content? Did your feelings change? If you were eating to combat stress or anxiety have those subsided or have they increased? Do you regret what you ate? Are you proud of yourself for making a good choice?

Recording all these things will help you eat healthier and smarter. Analyzing your feelings and responses to eating will help you make better choices when it comes to eating. So take the challenge and start keeping a food journal!!