Although I recommend keeping your food diary with you in the form of a small book and taking photos of all your meals, there are some advantages of also maintaining an online diary.
The most obvious is that you can look up any food and the diary will automatically keep track of your calories and macronutrient content as you add each food consumed. However, not all foods can be found and you may need to add some of your own ‘custom’ foods when you begin. Although this is time consuming at first, once the database has them, you can simply select them next time.
I also like to use the ‘add custom food’ to create ‘meals’. For example suppose you make a spaghetti meatballs (naughty but nice), you can combine all your ingredients into one ‘food’ called ‘spaghetti meatball meal’. Then each time you make your meatballs, the food is already there and you don’t need to add each ingredient individually.
If you want the best possible option for a food diary I strongly recommend what I call a COMBO diary. This consists of creating a free blog (blogger, wordpress etc) and uploading your pictures of all your meals along with listing somewhere the food calories (your online food diary, in the post itself etc). This is worth the effort as we get the very best method of food tracking. Here is how JJ did it:
There is simply no need for me to re-invent the wheel here with my own online programme. I have found both “Cronometer” and “My Fitness Pal” perfect for the job. The reason I pick My Fitness Pal is because it is the only one I have found that actually uses a decent UK database of foods! However, if you don’t mind using a USA food database /or based in USA – choose Cronometer. Both diaries can be shared with our consulting team – see this example article.
You simply sign up for an account (use the free versions of either site) which we found perfect for our needs) and away you go!
As already mentioned, another advantage for my premium and gold members is that you are able to share your account if you so desire, and check your diet, add recipes etc. Remember the downside of this is that you have to always keep adding your intake online which for some may prove more inconvenient. If you have got some time now, give it a go and see how you get on with an online food diary version.
MOBILE APP – My Fitness Pal also has a great phone app to accompany your online version.
Not been updated much since its creation several years ago. However, unlike the others, it does have a paid desktop version although again, these days most people are able to surf the web any time they wish, and also keep in mind my first comment. If you want to check it out.. Here is the link – FITDAY.COM
Nutrition Data (USA)
This site is the most comprehensive for assessing both glycemic loads and more importantly inflammation factor, the later of which I use with health conscious and disease / disease risk clients. It has a lot of information that you will find useful if you are new to dietary concepts. I use their database often to check a specific food such as those in my food diary that I cannot get from a food label. Also you may find it handy for looking up a food and scoring it according to parameters like glycemic Load, how healthy it is etc. Worth playing around with to see if you prefer it to Fitday.
Here is the link – https://nutritiondata.self.com
P.S. My advice is to resist being tempted by all the adverts for additional online diets/memberships at these type of sites unless you REALLY think you are going to use it constantly! Firstly, anyone on my program does not need these. Secondly, they are notorious for being easy to sign up for and sometimes hard to cancel and almost everyone I know who has paid for them, never uses them beyond what you can get in the free version. Besides, there are plenty of FREE menus and recipe sites around the web – just search for a food and you will see what I mean!