That is a great question!
I strongly recommend that anyone who is trying to lose weight or trying to eat a more healthful diet overall keep a food log or diary. Putting down in writing, using an app, computer program or document to track exactly what you eat and drink can help you see ways to make improvements.
There are many apps available that will help you log what you eat and drink and calculate your calorie and nutrient intake to be sure you are getting all the vital nutrition you need. You can also set up your personal profile using the Super Tracker as part of the MyPlate.gov website. This can be done for you and all those in your family. Many like to enter their children’s intake to be sure all their needs are met.
If you have a goal for total calories per day, the food diary will let you know how close you get each day. Just guessing often leads to underestimating your true intake which could keep you from hitting your weight loss goals. Knowing how much fiber and essential nutrients like protein, vitamins and minerals are helpful to maintaining your health goals.
Many clients with whom I work on weight loss programs are surprised at how quickly the calories add up. They think they are doing fine getting the right calories but soon learn that they are going over the goal every day and soon learn how difficult weight loss will be when too many calories are taken daily. If you see you are going over your estimated amount by the afternoon, you will still have time to get in more physical activity to burn off the extra calories. It can help you keep your plan on track when you receive data up to the minute using an online system or app to track your intake.
Don’t forget that beverages add up fast as well as snacking so be sure to enter everything you put in your mouth.
It might take a little time to set up or enter the information daily, but it will be worth it when you are armed with the knowledge you need to meet your goals.