Importance Of Maintaining A Food Diary For Children

  • Priya Karkera

    Pediatric Nutritionist, BSc, Post Graduate in Nutrition and Dietetics, PhD (Std)

  • Posted On April 04, 2017

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What is a Food Diary?

A food diary is a detailed daily record of the food and beverages one consumes over a certain period, typically kept as a means of tracking calorie consumption or identifying habitual eating patterns.

Why should you maintain a food diary for your child?

  • Maintaining a daily food diary throws light on the foods consumed over a period of a day, week or month and helps parents in understanding their child’s daily food and nutrient consumption verses his nutrient requirement.
  • A food diary is more reliable than a food recall where the last 3day’s diet is recalled by the child or the parent. Food recalls may not be accurate as they are based on memory and there are higher chances of missing out on some foods that the child may haveconsumed.
  • A food diary can help in better understanding of the child’s precise lifestyle and diet practices which enables parents in making healthy choices and understand if there are nutrient based deficiencies in their child’s diet.

How does a food diary help?

  • A food diary gives a clear picture of the food groups that are consumed on daily basis.
  • It can help to improve health status of children by adding in the nutrients or food groups deficient in their diet after checking their food records.
  • Food diary can help children participating in school sports and athletics to understand their hydration level as well as nutrient intake pre during and post activity to avoid muscle loss and sports injuries.
  • Food diary records can reduce or eliminate mindless eating and overeating such as stuffing chips into your mouth while watching television or playing a video game. Knowing that the child may have to write down all the junk food consumed by him per day, it can be a powerful motivator for skipping them and prevent childhood obesity.
  • A research studyconducted on 1,700 people by the Kaiser Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon proved that dieters who kept a food diary for six months lost twice as much weight as those who kept no food record. The reason behind this is that writing down what you eat makes you accountable for every bit of food that goes into your mouth, including high-calorie and fatty foods.

How to maintain a food diary?

  • A typical food diary should consist of date, time, food and beverage intake, serving size of food consumed and the number of servings of food consumed which can be either written down in a diary or typed or recorded on an app like Fitterfly which makes the process easier.
  • Don’t wait until the end of the day to fill out your food diary when you could forget or misremember some details; write down foods and drinks as you consume them.
  • Example of a food diary is as follows:
Time Food / Beverage Intake Serving Size(small/ Medium/large bowl/pieces/number) Number of servings (1/4, ½, 1,2……..) Comments
Early Morning(7am)        
         
Breakfast(9am)        
         
Mid Morning/ School Break(11am)        
         
Lunch/ School Break (1pm)        
         
Snacks(4pm)        
         
Mid Evening(6pm)        
         
Dinner (8pm)        
         
Bed Time(10pm)        

So, what are you waiting for?

Start maintaining your child’s food diary now and experience the change in his food habits and lifestyle through proper guidance and personalized consultation with Pediatric Nutritionists and dietitians at Fitterfly.

About Fitterfly:

Fitterfly is a wellness company run by doctors, nutritionists and wellness experts with an aim to empower people with knowledge and tools for good health. Our qualified Nutritionists at Fitterfly provide detailed customized guidance according to your child’s age, health condition, cuisine and personal preferences. To know more download and use ‘Fitterfly’ app from play store or app store or write to us at nutrition@fitterfly.com or just call us at +917045065225

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Disclaimer: All information here, including text, images, tables, videos and any other content is for your knowledge only and we do not guarantee any specific result by following these recommendations as it may vary from person to person. The information is not a substitute for qualified medical advice from a doctor or other medical health expert.