It’s also useful to point out, too, that, although the most obvious names tend to be obvious, the name “chicken” is almost never used in food journals (I’ve only seen it used once on my own test scores), which is a simple way to prevent you from misusing it.
And, if you need to, in a pinch, you can use the word “cassoulet” instead. In the actual food journal, you can create new pages to insert new foods or different food types, and these pages should use real, appropriate scientific names and make a real effort to be accurate.
Even if you’re using plain old paper or your handwriting is terrible, you’ll still be able to record your food intake the same way.
The hardest thing to get used to is writing a food log in a journal, but once you’re used to that, it’s easy to make your food journal do whatever you need it to do.
Steps you need to take
Step one, of course, is to figure out what you’re going to be eating, but that’s a secondary concern here. I usually need to have some kind of foods journal that I can work with in any situation.
That means that, even if my main one doesn’t have enough space to record all the ingredients that I use, I can use this one instead.
But even then, it’s good to have some kind of food journal. If you’re eating an occasional fast food meal, or your food journal doesn’t have space to list ingredients in a burger, then you might want to keep your fast food journal for that one time.
My first food journal had a few pages left over in the back, so I put a few chicken recipes in there.
I wrote that I needed a recipe for chicken, and it would be a great idea for me to go buy a couple of whole chickens and make some recipes from my new food journal. Once I did this, I ended up updating my original food journal to include these whole chicken recipes, and that’s how I’ve used them ever since.
Step two is to buy a recipe journal. Keep in mind that you don’t have to buy a special recipe journal for this.
Most recipe or cooking journals have index pages for entries such as recipes, cooking techniques, special instructions, special uses, tips that require ingredients you don’t have, specific preparations, special ingredients, and so forth.
You can just as easily record food journal information in a recipe index page.
Step three is to go shopping for a recipe journal. The great thing about recipes is that they have ingredients, so you can find one online, buy it, and take it with you to the grocery store, where you can use it to record your food journal entries.
What you need
- A notebook, preferably spiral-bound
- An index or sheet-music binder
- Locating a blank page or two
- A blank spiral-bound notebook
- A blank sheet of paper, preferably white, heavy weight, in a 1/8″ by 1/4″ size
Choosing a blank page or two
There are several options. For example, it’s easy to choose a blank page for just the most recent entries.
Another option is to choose a blank page for the entire journal. If you want to use this method, choose a page that has the date and page number written on it in white ink.
My favorite use of the blank page method is to write my entries in a ledger style of book, where I log the information in consecutive columns. This allows me to see at a glance what I’ve already eaten.
Also, you can choose a blank page or two just for any other type of information. I sometimes write nutritional information in some of the blank pages, or I leave them blank when I want to record nutrition information.
I’ve also chosen a page or two to hold daily menus. This is nice, because it can serve as a visual representation of what I’ve eaten so far for the day.
And since most food journals don’t have a daily menu feature, this page is useful as a visual aid.
Step four is to get started. Step five is to keep going.
You’ve almost finished, and there’s still time to make your entries for the day, but what to write about?
As I mentioned before, for each day you want to record your food journal, make sure you pick a blank sheet of white paper with a large enough area to write on.
And make sure you fill the entire page.
If you want to keep track of your cooking technique, do so by putting in the name of the recipe and then putting down the recipe’s cook time, not your time.
For example, if you’re cooking a chicken dish, you’d make a note of “5 minutes on each side of breast and thigh” and then the time you cook the whole thing.
Note that if you’re using chicken parts or something that takes longer to cook, you’ll need to keep track of the cook time for all those parts.
If you’re going to make a recipe with ingredients you already have at home, enter the name of the recipe and then write the ingredients needed.
This is convenient, because it allows you to record any leftover ingredients, if any.