Monday, March 22

Meal Tracking

You make an omelet for breakfast and nibble on a slice of cheese as you cook. You put together a peanut butter sandwich for your kids and lick the knife off before putting it into the sink. Your coworker gives you a couple M&Ms from the bag he’s eating while you’re visiting at his desk.

These nibbles, licks and bites can add up to hundreds of calories in a day! But if you look back over your day and try to remember what you ate, I’ll bet they don’t make it to your memory.

Meal tracking is simply writing down or recording somehow everything you eat. A meal tracker, or food journal, gives you an awareness around eating you probably didn’t have before. It also gives you the opportunity to look back over what you’ve eaten and analyze your choices and habits. When you don’t have it written down in front of you, it’s easy to reason away what you’ve eaten and why.

So, when you meal track, what do you write down? Everything! If you eat 3 M&Ms, then you record that you ate 3 M&Ms. You write down that lick of peanut butter and the nibble of cheese. After all, 2 teaspoons of peanut butter, a half ounce of cheese and 3 M&Ms add up to 145 calories! And, if we’re truthful, our nibbles, licks and bites are probably bigger than that.

There are online food journals (some free, some for pay), but the easiest way to start is to simply grab a notebook or open up a Word doc. Just start writing down everything you eat. You can even record the time you eat to help when you reflect back on what you’ve written. The important thing is to just start! You’ll find that you begin to build an awareness of every time you make a choice to eat which is a first step to gaining control over your eating habits.

Time Magazine has an interesting article about meal tracking: check it out here. There's some fascinating statistics that may make you grab that journal and start meal tracking today!

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