Good health is a product of sustained good habits—a major part of which is eating healthy food. Due to many factors, most people don’t start taking on a healthy diet from the start. Most of those who develop healthy eating habits start well into their adult life, as they become more conscious about their health. Others start even later than that, particularly when severe conditions begin to surface.
There is much debate among nutritionists and dietitians over what constitutes essential nutrition. However, if there is anything that they can all agree on, it’s that people who are serious about developing healthy eating habits should get a food journal.
Here are four advantages of keeping a food journal, especially in the interest of developing healthy eating habits:
1. Easier calorie counting
Controlling your calorie intake is hard work, but it is impossible without keeping an accurate record in the first place. As any dietitian will tell you, it’s easy to consume too many calories without realizing it. This is especially true with highly-calorific food that doesn’t make you feel full until you overeat.
Examples of such food items are hummus and pita, which can feel healthy because they don’t feel heavy in your belly. In truth, three servings of hummus and pita can easily reach 1500+ calories—which is half the calories that a typical adult male needs in a day to maintain weight!
2. Helps control your portions
Having an updated record of your food intake gives you the ability to see which food items you can have more significant portions of and which ones you need to cut back on. This is because some foods can make you feel full faster and still be below your daily calorie intake.
Meanwhile, other food groups are highly caloric but don’t make you feel full. This is the food group that you must eat sparingly!
3. Identify occasions for binge-eating
Eating healthy is a difficult habit to develop because meals are a highly emotional affair. Many people tend to indulge their unhealthy food cravings due to certain emotionally taxing events as a way to feel better. Others do the same, but for the opposite reason, they eat their guilty-pleasure food to celebrate certain occasions.
Ultimately, breaking from unhealthy food cravings involves getting rid of destructive habits as well. For example, instead of using food as a de-stressor, you can try looking for alternative comfort sources, such as exercise. Aside from that, substituting unhealthy food with plant-based meals can help break you off your dependency on your guilty-pleasure food as well.
4. Maintain a hard and transparent record of your food intake
Memories are hardly an accurate record of past events, including the particular food you eat in a certain meal. This is why if you decide to consult a nutritionist, he or she will probably require you to keep a food journal. This is especially true with vegan nutrition programs that need you to stick with specific food groups for a defined period.
If you already have one before securing their services, your dietitian will have a better understanding of your body’s physical state. This also enables them to develop a suitable diet designed to help you achieve your personal goals.
Ultimately, the main advantage of keeping a food journal is holding yourself accountable for the food you eat. Food journals only really work if you keep an honest record of your food intake.
This record of food intake will reveal many things about your food habits that you may not have noticed before. You can then use this knowledge to improve your food habits and avoid situations where you are most likely to overeat or indulge in unhealthy food cravings!
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