When I first start working with a wellness client, I want to know what their typical day looks like, from what they eat to how they move their body. To get the most accurate picture with diet, I recommend they track their food intake for two weeks. Whether they track it in a journal or use a free food tracking app, it’s essential to track everything eaten – from meals to snacks to leftovers that their kids didn’t eat but that they did.
Tracking food isn’t just for people who want to lose weight. It’s for anyone who wants to have and maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
Read on for the many benefits of tracking food.
Clarity of What You’re Eating
Food tracking helps you see the good – and the bad – of what you’re consuming. You may be surprised to find how many times you snack during the day or how often you mindlessly eat your children’s leftovers.
Understand Food’s Nutrient Value
Online food tracking apps often offer valuable insight into your foods’ nutrient value – the calories, fat, protein, carbs, and sugar that’s present in each item that you’re eating. With the help of a wellness coach, you can figure out what your ideal nutrient values are and use a food tracker to help you get to, and stick with, that goal.
Keeps You Accountable
Eating is second nature to most of us and therefore people often forget what they’ve consumed earlier in the day, especially if it is something not in their usual routine – for example, a piece of birthday cake for a coworker. Tracking food helps an individual stay accountable for everything that is eaten throughout the day.
Helps Identify Trends
Do you automatically pick up a muffin or cookie on your afternoon coffee break? Or do you snack on food while preparing dinner? Food tracking helps identify trends where you may be consuming extra calories that are not necessary or not a healthy choice. Being aware of these trends can help you change them – either by snacking on something healthier or sipping fruit-infused water instead of snacking at all.
Allows You to Enjoy Without Guilt
We all need to indulge in our comfort foods in moderation. Tracking food allows you to plan for your favorite indulgence (for example, having pizza for dinner then plan a healthy salad for lunch) or, if it’s a spur of the moment indulgence, use the food tracker to get you back on track at the next meal.
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Tracking food provides a clear picture of eating patterns. From these patterns, I help my clients apply small, simple changes to get them on track to a healthier, happier lifestyle.