Young woman in cafe writes in her journal

Maintain a food journal; track your trigger foods

Whether you are trying to develop better eating habits in order to lose weight, improve overall health or relieve digestive problems, junk food can undermine even the best intentions.

Part of the problem is that we often snack without being conscious of what we are doing. You may think that you are only indulging in a treat now and then, but you may be surprised to find out just how many extra calories you are consuming by giving into emotional eating; eating that is driven by mood rather than nourishment. One way to identify your patterns and break the cycle is to start a food journal.

Journaling makes you more aware of your trigger foods and how they may be sabotaging your goals

LiveStrong recommends the “connect food to feelings” method to effect change. You should note how a particular food changes your mood and affects you physically. It may also help to record notable events. If you tend to overeat or make unhealthy food choices when you’ve experienced an anxious moment, you’ll be better prepared to handle similar situations in the future.

Tracking your nutrients provides a level of accountability

You can use pen and paper or download an app to track nutrition. Just be sure to use a method that suits both your personality and your lifestyle. If you prepare meals from a narrow range of ingredients and don’t often eat out, technology probably won’t make the task any easier. If, on the other hand, you frequently eat restaurant meals, nutrition tracking apps can usually recognize menu items.

A food journal helps you count calories and other nutritional information

Nutrition tracking apps do offer one major advantage over journals: you can easily access an ingredient or meal’s complete nutritional profile. This will include information about calories, vitamins, minerals, protein and fat. When combined with your personal profile (information about your gender, height and weight), this makes it easy to see if you are meeting your daily goals.

Making healthy changes and breaking old habits can be difficult. The right tools can make all the difference. Something as simple as keeping a food journal will make you more conscious of your decisions and help you make better choices.

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