2

votes

What's the best way to keep a food log?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 16, 2011 at 12:18 PM

I recently started a food log just out of pure curiosity. I usually have an idea of what I eat and try to keep my non-paleo meals to a max of 3 per week. I am keeping a food log for a month and wanted to know if you ever kept a log and what format did you use? Did you write down just meals? or meals + nutritional information? specific times you ate (8am, 4pm...)? I don't want to weigh food but I would like to keep nutritional info in my log to get an idea of fat, protein, and carb intake. What's the easiest way of doing this? Is there a website that can help me?

**UPDATE: I've been using fitday.com and I like it. Thanks!

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 23, 2011
at 05:42 PM

Oranges - hit me up with an email at primalkitchen a+ gmail do+ com and let's talk; being of similar age and "start"/"hopeful finish" weight stats, I might have a few ideas / thoughts to offer. Don't give up!

9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

(1702)

on March 23, 2011
at 03:49 PM

Dangit! I missed getting in, this would've been a great challenge for me :(

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 21, 2011
at 11:45 PM

Yay! I'm glad you like fitday! I had a lot of success with it. If I had been able to have "friends" I would have stayed with it always.

949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

(1021)

on March 17, 2011
at 07:36 PM

Also, the WSJ just had an article about this today, comparing and contrasting four different food trackers: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703899704576204633921773472.html?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_Lifestyle_6#articleTabs%3Darticle

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on March 17, 2011
at 08:47 AM

Not to be Debbie Downer but if you don't want to use a scale, your results might be quite doubtful.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 17, 2011
at 02:50 AM

Don't even worry about what happens when you plateau yet! You are doing awesome. *\o/*

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 17, 2011
at 02:38 AM

Actually, so am I! ;-) But as long as the scale is dropping I know that I'm doing something OK. Maybe it will get harder when I quit nursing and/or plateau and am trying to tinker with macronutrients and calories with little to no success.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 17, 2011
at 02:23 AM

I am so glad you are enjoying the logging and not hating it!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 16, 2011
at 03:56 PM

Hey Eric, I bought my first food scale at the $1 store! When I did finally get a nice digital scale, I compared the two and it was pretty accurate for a buck! If the scale is just too much of a pain, try to use measuring cups, on most of the websites you can change the measurement type from ounces to cups and it's kind of amusing trying to cut up your steak and stuff it in a cup! ;)

A5ead9de259ae72f2165ecb12f4ae764

(440)

on March 16, 2011
at 03:28 PM

I do enjoy my meals. I'm want to know the breakdown of my macronutrients.

9e7039b63b656582f66d84c5255b436d

(1132)

on March 16, 2011
at 03:16 PM

there is this app, but I am not convinced it's not a scam http://mdlabs.se/sleepcycle/ at 1$ it's worth a try

91c2e2a35e578e2e79ce7d631b753879

(2081)

on March 16, 2011
at 01:49 PM

I use the desktop app for Fitday - it costs about $20, if I remember correctly. Yes, the database is a little outdated, but the "custom food" feature is it's savior, because if you know the nutritional information on any food not in the database, you can create a custom food for it.

A5ead9de259ae72f2165ecb12f4ae764

(440)

on March 16, 2011
at 01:36 PM

I will check out fitday.com. THanks Jules.

A5ead9de259ae72f2165ecb12f4ae764

(440)

on March 16, 2011
at 01:35 PM

I'm against weighing because I don't want to buy a scale. For now I use the weight on packages. THanks for the great tips and websites.

A5ead9de259ae72f2165ecb12f4ae764

(440)

on March 16, 2011
at 01:34 PM

I like the idea of keeping track of sleep. Thanks!

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15 Answers

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5
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on March 16, 2011
at 01:17 PM

I am the food logging queen, self declared title, of course. ;)

In order to get enough detail on carb, fat and protein, you are probably better off using a computer program or app, rather than trying to write it all down on paper. If you aren't willing to weigh/measure your food, then it may be tough because you will just be guestimating quantities. It is easy to mistake 5oz of meat for 3oz of meat when you are just eyeballing it. Even if you only measure for the first week to get an accurate visual of how much = each quantity you will get more reliable numbers this way.

www.livestrong.com/myplate is what I use because it allows me to have friends and see what they eat and comment on it. Beware, because the food database is a wiki so people enter really weird information. If you don't have a basic idea of what foods have in it, then this one is not for you.

www.fitday.com is what I used for YEARS, it is fairly easy to use and you can create "custom foods" when you have nutritional information for something you eat all the time or a recipe. It's easy, but the database is somewhat outdated.

www.sparkpeople.com is a great site with a lot of resources, but it was really, really busy for me. They send a lot of email too.

All of these will break down your percentages and give you the information you need.

A5ead9de259ae72f2165ecb12f4ae764

(440)

on March 16, 2011
at 01:35 PM

I'm against weighing because I don't want to buy a scale. For now I use the weight on packages. THanks for the great tips and websites.

91c2e2a35e578e2e79ce7d631b753879

(2081)

on March 16, 2011
at 01:49 PM

I use the desktop app for Fitday - it costs about $20, if I remember correctly. Yes, the database is a little outdated, but the "custom food" feature is it's savior, because if you know the nutritional information on any food not in the database, you can create a custom food for it.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 16, 2011
at 03:56 PM

Hey Eric, I bought my first food scale at the $1 store! When I did finally get a nice digital scale, I compared the two and it was pretty accurate for a buck! If the scale is just too much of a pain, try to use measuring cups, on most of the websites you can change the measurement type from ounces to cups and it's kind of amusing trying to cut up your steak and stuff it in a cup! ;)

4
5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on March 16, 2011
at 12:42 PM

I use a food log periodically to check up on various factors I'm interested in. Many people will say not to, but I found it useful especially while learning the basics and for seeing some places that needed tuning. Cron-o-meter is free and easy to use http://spaz.ca/cronometer/ I use the desktop version.

2
D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 17, 2011
at 02:06 AM

I've been logging on fatsecret.com since March 1 - account setup is easy and free. Bonus: it has highly rated free apps out for various smartphones (I use my Droid FatSecret app every day!). There's also a barcode scanner available within the apps!

It's been great to see an autoreadout of my percentages of macronutrients and watch them shift over the day on the pie chart as I add to my food intake for the day. Since I wanted to get to under 50g of carbs/day, it's been a terrific resource. The food diary is a wiki but it is very comprehensive and has just about anything you'd eat listed, including paleo favorites like Tropical Traditions products.

I also like the other FatSecret data tools - exercise journal, weigh-in history/chart, forums, groups, challenges, etc. For the data geek in you! You can participate as much or as little as you want, and there are a few privacy controls that you can change per your preferences.

In fact, there's 43 folks (and counting!) who've joined a 3 Month Primal / Paleo Challenge for those looking for body composition change before summer arrives - it starts on Monday 3/21.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 17, 2011
at 02:23 AM

I am so glad you are enjoying the logging and not hating it!

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 17, 2011
at 02:38 AM

Actually, so am I! ;-) But as long as the scale is dropping I know that I'm doing something OK. Maybe it will get harder when I quit nursing and/or plateau and am trying to tinker with macronutrients and calories with little to no success.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 17, 2011
at 02:50 AM

Don't even worry about what happens when you plateau yet! You are doing awesome. *\o/*

9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

(1702)

on March 23, 2011
at 03:49 PM

Dangit! I missed getting in, this would've been a great challenge for me :(

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 23, 2011
at 05:42 PM

Oranges - hit me up with an email at primalkitchen a+ gmail do+ com and let's talk; being of similar age and "start"/"hopeful finish" weight stats, I might have a few ideas / thoughts to offer. Don't give up!

0
157a6c8d89eb0123794555ee89e9c2b6

on January 19, 2014
at 02:29 AM

I use my fitness pal I love it!

0
Medium avatar

on January 19, 2014
at 01:04 AM

Great

0
08e179feadf6ddd91b24a6efbe4a2df2

on January 19, 2014
at 12:27 AM

I find the most difficult thing is to just remember to record what you eat. Now there's a new iPhone app called TrackMyMeal that let you set reminders to take a photo of your meal. Another thing that kept me from logging is how long time it takes to log a meal with entering calories, etc. This app lets uses a slider to determine how much according to diet the meal was. It is really fast and easy to use

https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/trackmymeal/id794832916?mt=8

0
08e179feadf6ddd91b24a6efbe4a2df2

on January 19, 2014
at 12:26 AM

I find the most difficult thing is to just remember to record what you eat. Now there's a new iPhone app called TrackMyMeal that let you set reminders to take a photo of your meal.

Another thing that kept me from logging is how long time it takes to log a meal with entering calories, etc. This app lets uses a slider to determine how much according to diet the meal was. It is really fast and easy to use https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/trackmymeal/id794832916?mt=8

0
5786a8dbc9f3c6e1b7ec5b46079562ae

(268)

on March 22, 2011
at 08:42 PM

I have an unhealthy love for statistics and patterns, so I've recently started keeping a relational database to keep track of things like food (and ingredients!) consumed, weight, overall mood, exercise and supplements taken. It's pretty cool because I can run specific queries to, say, figure out how too-little sleep correlates with mood and weight, and I can always start tracking something new by adding a new table.

I don't think all that is necessary to maintain your health, but it's pretty neat to see how one thing is connected to another.

0
949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

on March 17, 2011
at 04:07 AM

I have had a great experience with www.mynetdiary.com. They have a free app for the iPhone (and an app for Blackberries) and a comprehensive catalog of foods. One of the key differences between their site and many of the others is that they actually have tens of thousands of food items that are entered by the website moderators, so they are quality-controled. Users can also enter their own foods if they are not in the database. It's an easy user interface, with a strong community forum offering support to the users.

I have been using mynetdiary since September, and I have lost nearly 35 pounds. You can set your weight loss or body composition goals, and it will tell you how many calories you need to take in to reach the goal by a certain date. If you pay the monthly fee to upgrade, you can also set your macro and micronutrient goals for each day. Even if you don't, you can track the nutrients - you just can't change the goals.

In the past, I've kept food diaries for a couple of months at a time, but it's hard to maintain when it's just a notebook in my pocket. With the iPhone app, though, I have it with me all the time, entering data is quick, and there are lots of supporting features. I highly recommend it.

949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

(1021)

on March 17, 2011
at 07:36 PM

Also, the WSJ just had an article about this today, comparing and contrasting four different food trackers: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703899704576204633921773472.html?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_Lifestyle_6#articleTabs%3Darticle

0
15fd0841df1a77a6a466aec14f51be2b

on March 17, 2011
at 03:50 AM

I am a food coach, personal trainer who created Loseitwrite! I found nothing beats pen and paper. I recommend writing down every bite and then counting calories. If you would like one, I will send you a complimentary one! Let me know, email me at [email protected] and give me your address!

0
741862d51f4709ea726113db7926576f

(605)

on March 17, 2011
at 01:10 AM

We actually are using Evernote to take pics of every meal, every snack, every beverage we take in. It allows us to see all that we're consuming, and can comment on when it's a pretty fruit-heavy day, etc. Kind of cool to "see" what you're eating. I loathe weighing and measuring my food, so this is a great way to get a good idea as to quantities.

0
8021ea3940df66820628d5bc5c29377c

(198)

on March 16, 2011
at 03:18 PM

The best way is not to log anything at all. Enjoy your paleo meals!

A5ead9de259ae72f2165ecb12f4ae764

(440)

on March 16, 2011
at 03:28 PM

I do enjoy my meals. I'm want to know the breakdown of my macronutrients.

0
A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 16, 2011
at 01:46 PM

I've had good success with creating a google doc spreadsheet and sharing it with someone who can keep me accountable.

0
9e7039b63b656582f66d84c5255b436d

(1132)

on March 16, 2011
at 12:43 PM

A suggestion is to just use a notepad: track time of day when you eat and what, how much sleep you get, your weight (fat, muscle). Also the amount of exercise and when.
Some of these things you could equally well do with a phone app - but I haven't seen an app that complete yet.

9e7039b63b656582f66d84c5255b436d

(1132)

on March 16, 2011
at 03:16 PM

there is this app, but I am not convinced it's not a scam http://mdlabs.se/sleepcycle/ at 1$ it's worth a try

A5ead9de259ae72f2165ecb12f4ae764

(440)

on March 16, 2011
at 01:34 PM

I like the idea of keeping track of sleep. Thanks!

0
24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on March 16, 2011
at 12:43 PM

If I find myself gaining a few pounds, sometimes I'll log a few days of meals at fitday.com; I think livestrong has a similar tool.

A5ead9de259ae72f2165ecb12f4ae764

(440)

on March 16, 2011
at 01:36 PM

I will check out fitday.com. THanks Jules.

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