If you’re passionate about your healthy eating habits, you’re going to want to keep a food diary. No matter how well you think you’re eating, a food tracker will help expose those little weaknesses we all have. Sometimes we eat poorly, or we’re just not getting enough of a specific macronutrient. Knowing your daily intake is a positive and eye-opening experience. A food diary offers you a bigger picture of your eating habits and is an excellent way to help plan your meals. Here are four reasons to keep a food diary.

A Food Tracker Helps Control Calorie Intake

Tracking the foods you eat with calorie counters helps to remind us just how many calories are in our favorite snacks and how many calories we’re actually eating every day. You might be surprised! You can quickly go over your target goals if you’re not tracking your intake. That half a cup of pasta might be lean on its own, but add a few tablespoons of olive oil and a bit of Parmesan cheese, and you’ve just increased your calorie count.

A Daily Food Log Groups Calorie Sources

Knowing your total calories is a great start, but it’s not enough when you’re truly dedicated to understanding your food intake. Fats, proteins, and carbohydrates are the three nutrients that provide our bodies with the energy we need to work and play. A daily food diary, even a free one from the app store, will tell you if you’re eating too many carbohydrates or too little protein, for example. You can adjust your diet based on recommended levels and your individual lifestyle right from your smartphone.

Food Diary Tracker Helps Manage Portion Sizes

Most of us binge-eat at some point in the week. It could be Monday after a hard day of work, or Saturday evening out with friends might be your eating nemesis. By using a food tracker app, you can identify your weakness and better manage them. The goal is not to remove comfort eating from your lifestyle but to expertly direct your choices for a better you. Instead of a big pile of cheesy fries, maybe have a small portion of your favorite foods with a fresh, whole-food dish that you enjoy, too.

Take Advantage of a Food Tracker App

Our minds are very good at justifying even our most destructive behaviors like overeating. With a food tracker app, the cold hard numbers are tough to argue with. If your goal is to lose weight, keeping a consistent record of the foods you eat will take out the guesswork of maintaining your target calorie intake. These numbers are simple to compare with your workout program, so you can ensure you’re taking in fewer calories than you’re burning. These markers are often a great way to stay motivated.

Even if you’ve hired a nutritionist to help you manage your diet, a food diary is the only way to really know how much you’re in taking on a daily basis. Once you know which foods are the highest in overall calories, you can begin to substitute those with healthier alternatives for a better you.

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