How to Keep a Pregnancy Food Journal
Author: Carla Snuggs
Keeping a food journal during your pregnancy will help you keep track of your nutritional intake. It will also allow you to realistically analyze your diet, dietary habits, and cravings.
Your food journal should track, in detail, what you eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You must also record all snacks. Essentially, anything that you put into your mouth should be recorded in your journal whether it is an entire meal or a small bite of a cookie. An effective food journal will also keep track of your hunger levels and mood. In addition, your food journal should also keep track of the number of servings of the following items:
- Protein: 3 servings per day
- Calcium: 4 servings per day
- Water and fluid intake: Eight 8-ounce glasses per day
- Fiber: 24 grams daily
- Fruits and vegetables: 5 or more servings per day
- Iron rich foods: Beef, dried beans and peas, spinach, barley, pumpkin seeds, soy beans, and soy products
- Whole grains: 6 or more servings per day
- Refined (processed) grains: White flour, white grains, noodles, grits, corn, or flour tortillas, etc.
- High fat foods
- Junk foods
- Prenatal Vitamins
Tips for Food Diary Success
- Carry your journal with you at all times. It is prudent to keep track as you eat and drink rather than rely on your memory, so be sure not to leave the house without it.
- Honesty is the best policy. Always be specific and truthful with your servings when detailing the foods you consume, from large meals to small bites. This journal is private (unless you choose to share it with your doctor) and for your own benefit.
- Note any adverse reactions to foods that you eat. This will allow you to discover allergies so that you can limit or eliminate problematic foods from your diet.
- Don't forget the condiments! Salad dressings, ketchup, sugar, gravies, and other small items may slip your mind, but they do count.
Whether you use an online tracking system or something as simple as a blank notebook, a food journal is an excellent tool that helps support a healthy pregnancy. Keeping a food journal for a week or two will allow you to see if you are eating the recommended amount of servings in the essential food groups. It is also a good idea to let your health care practitioner take a look at your journal so that he or she can guide you to optimal nutrition. This will ensure that you are eating a wide variety of healthy foods and receiving the proper nutrition for you and your growing baby.