Whether you’re looking to get back on track after holiday buffets, zeroing in on a specific race weight, or searching for the right balance to fuel training efforts, a food log can be an effective tool in an athlete’s nutrition strategy.
“I encourage my clients to keep a food log to identify their personal eating habits, dietary ‘pitfalls’ or ‘triggers,’ and to stay accountable,” says professional triathlete and Toro Nutrition founder Jennifer Lentzke. “Food logs are also a great way to stay motivated. When you reinforce healthy, balanced eating you are more likely to stick with it.”
Food logs can also help identify eating habits that help (or hinder) your performance, says Christine Eley, founder of nutrition coaching service The Fare Maven. If you often experience low energy or GI distress, logging your food may help identify the culprit.
“Once you identify your dominant eating patterns, you can modify your habits to establish a healthy eating plan that is going to work for you,” Eley says.
If food journaling sounds complex and tedious, think again — the pen-and-paper logs of the past have been replaced by technology, making tracking as simple as a swipe of your cell phone screen. Here’s how to use food tracking to your advantage this season.