Can A Food Diary Help Your Diabetes Control?
By Robert Ehrman, MD, Reviewed by Johanna Burani
If you have diabetes, you know that there’s a lot you need to do to keep it under control. You need to check you blood glucose, take your medicines on time, eat a healthy diet, and do regular physical activity—just to name a few!
One of the most important parts of keeping your diabetes under control is a healthy meal plan. Keeping a diary of what you eat every day is a great way to help you stick to your meal plan and keep your diabetes care on track.
Why is A Healthy Meal Plan so Important?
Your healthcare provider has probably told you many times that you need to pay close attention to what you eat because of your diabetes. But, have you ever thought about why it’s so important?
Eating healthy foods and following your diabetes meal plan will help you keep your blood glucose under control. This is important because it can delay or prevent you from developing diabetes complications like kidney disease, nerve problems, and eyesight loss. In addition, normal blood glucose levels lower your risk of heart and blood vessel disease.
A healthy meal can also help you control your weight. This is very important when you have diabetes. Being overweight or obese can greatly increase the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack, and stroke.
Finally, getting to a healthy weight and staying there will also make it easier for you to keep you blood glucose in your goal range, and this is your critical goal for diabetes care!
How Can A Food Diary Help You Stick to A Healthy Diet?
For most people with diabetes their diabetes care is something they have to do on top of all the other issues they deal with in a busy life.
With so much going on, it can be hard to remember what you ate, how much you ate, or when you ate it. If you note what you eat in a food diary it makes it easy to look back and see if you’ve made healthy food choices and stuck to your meal plan.
A food diary can also help you work out how many calories you eat. This can be a great tool to help you lose weight or stay at your goal weight. It can also show you if there are certain times of the day or days of the week when you make unhealthy food choices. If you know these facts you can work on a new plan to change the unhealthy habits into healthy ones!
Show your food diary to your healthcare provider or dietitian at your next visit. Having an expert look at your food choices is the best way to find out if you are eating the right foods for you.
A dietitian can guide you on the number of calories to eat each day to reach and keep to a healthy weight. Your diary will show if you are eat too much of some foods or not enough of others. Maybe you eat too much bread or not enough fruits or vegetables? Your food diary makes it easier to change your eating plan and update your meal plan goals.
How to Keep A Food Diary
It’s simple! Download a copy of this sample food diary: http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/articles/56-/15707-universal-food-diary
Print it out, and carry it, and a pen, with you at all times. Then, every time you eat something, write down what it is and how much of it you eat!
Do this for a few weeks, and then look back and check to how closely you are sticking to your meal plan. Be sure to bring the completed food diaries with you the next time you see someone from your healthcare team.
The Take Home Points
- Diabetes care can seem like a full-time job, but you need to do it for your health, and you can do it!
- A healthy meal plan can help you control your blood glucose and stay at a healthy weight.
- Being at a healthy weight can make it easier to control your blood glucose, and it will lower your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and stroke.
- Keeping track of what you eat in a food diary is a simple way to let you look back and see if you’ve been making healthy food choices.
- Share your food diary with your healthcare team and discuss the best eating plan to keep you happy and healthy for years to come!