Tips for keeping a Food Diary
WHY KEEP A FOOD DIARY
You can learn a lot from a food diary about
- If something you eat might be making you feel bad
- If what you're eating is causing some of your IBD symptoms, and
- Whether you or your child are getting the nutrition you need
Are you getting bloating or gas when you drink milk, for example? Are too many comfort foods making your Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis worse? Or could you be missing the vegetables you should be getting and is that creating problems for you?
We have put together a food diary here that you can get started with. Note that the diary becomes even more helpful if you note any symptoms alongside the food list. You can also keep a complete symptom diary which is very helpful combined with the food diary. You can find a symptom diary here.
Tips for Keeping the Diary
- For a food diary to be helpful, it must be very detailed.
- It is important to list everything you or your child eats and drinks for three days (including water).
- Do not list what you put on the plate, or in the bowl or in the cup but the amount he or she actually eats or drinks.
- If your diet or your child's diet varies widely each day, you can get a better picture keeping the record for five days.
- Carefully note the time you eat and when the symptoms occur
- Be very specific and include brand names, the amounts you ate and how the food was prepared (baked, cooked in grapeseed oil, breaded)
- If you eat a mixed food, list the ingredients and amounts (if it's rice and beans, how much of each).
- Do not assume a dietitian or doctor analyzing the diet will know what's in a food or snack.
Reviewing the Diary
Reviewing the diary on your own is good if you are counting calories, or protein or any other nutrient. The nutrition labels of packaged food and the labels for restaurant servings we provide can help you. You can use the "Other" column of the diary for these purposes.
If you are using the diary to help pinpoint triggers for your symptoms, we suggest you keep very detailed record and print the pages and take them to your doctor or a dietitian and review them together.
This article, as well as all others, was reviewed and edited by a member of our Medical Advisory Board.
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