Last week I talked about accountability with your nutrition, specifically considering some form of a food log. Now, as I mentioned in that post, I’m not talking crazy specific portion sizes and calorie counting, I’m talking about keeping an eye on whether you’re eating breakfast, consuming fruits and veggies, or binging on candy. Just making yourself more aware of your current habits and what you’re putting in your body.
So, building on that premise, today I want to give you some strategies to make those food logs work even better for you and your journey toward better health. Sure, you can (and should, occasionally) review your food log and really take in what you’re eating and when. You should also be looking at what you’re NOT eating (are you missing veggies? Have you been keeping your indulgences down to once a week?). But, I, too, lead a very busy life and completely understand how difficult it can be to find the extra time to do…anything! So, to make your log even more user-friendly and helpful, I recommend you color-code as you go.
What does that mean? Well, as you write down different food items in your log, use a highlighter or different colored pens to draw attention to different types of foods. The simplest approach? A green highlighter. That’s it. Any foods that you consumed that are “good to go” (get it? We’re using “green” for “go”, as in go ahead and eat it?), gets highlighted in green. Veggies, fruits, high quality proteins, water and other naturally sugar-free beverages, nuts, whole grains, fermented foods, beans, fish all make the list.
All Fresh Fruits and Veggies
All Frozen Fruits and Veggies without added sugars
All Canned Fruits and Veggies without added sugar or salt
Nuts (unsalted and unsweetened)
Yogurt (no added sugar)
Coffee (no sugar added)
Anything else just gets written down. At the end of each day, each week, each meal, your goal should be to see a LOT of green and not too much “white”. Aim to increase the amount of green each day. This will both call more attention to the positive foods you’re eating (go, you!), and give you a very immediate visual of your progress or room for improvement. Alternatively, find some funny, small sparkly stickers. Every “go” food gets a sticker! How sparkly can you make your log pages? Accountability is good and it can be fun. Enjoy your food and celebrate your healthy choices.
Aubrey Phelps MS RDN LDN