Starting a Food Journal for Diabetics
Keeping a food journal is a simple way to guide you towards a healthy diet and steady blood sugar levels throughout the day.
Food journals allow diabetics to track eating habits and blood glucose levels throughout the day, week, or month and pinpoint solutions for weight management, nutrition deficiencies, and glucose level maintenance.
With a food journal, you can review the consequences of your eating habits and adjust your lifestyle accordingly. If a certain food causes a high spike in blood sugar, you know to avoid that meal in the future. Noting these trends in your food journal contributes to pattern tracking; discuss these patterns with your doctor to determine which actions you can take to account for them.
A variety of options exist for keeping a food journal. The first is to carry a physical journal with you throughout the day. Most convenient for people who prefer formatting freedom, a physical journal provides satisfaction for the pen-and-paper types.
For those who prefer electronic journals, many websites offer food-tracking services. Different websites provide varied services, such as meal planners, calorie estimators, and goal planning.
Many websites have also developed apps to track your food intake on the go from a smartphone or tablet. Additionally, the note taking apps on phones and tablets supply another resource for food journaling.
Food journals track eating habits and blood sugar levels. Consequently, the most important part of a food journal consists of the food choices and quantity.
Write down which foods you eat, serving sizes, calorie content, and amount of carbohydrates (if known). Remember to include all liquids as well. Estimate serving size or amount consumed as best as possible, as quantity is very important to monitoring your habits.
Record the time as well as any other factors you find important, which could include: emotional status, satisfaction level, hunger before and after, etc.
Finally, record your glucose levels and the time you measured them to facilitate tracking changes from meal-to-meal and day-to-day.
Tips and Tricks
The most important tip to remember is not to "cheat" yourself. If you ate five brownies at a party and only record two, you won’t be tracking a clear pattern of behaviors and outcomes, and you won’t be helping yourself or your doctor. Record every food and drink item that passes your lips, even the smallest snack, because tidbits add up.
Chronicling food choices as they happen, instead of at the end of the day, ensures more accurate records because the details are fresh in your mind. If you have any more tips for journaling food choices, feel free to leave a comment and share them with others!