Vanderbilt Diabetes

Importance of Food Diaries

Keeping a food diary or tracker can help you be aware of your eating habits. It can also help you practice and improve carb counting skills. Use the tips on this page to help make the most of your food tracker. Following are the most important parts of a food diary:

  • Time of Meal: Record the time of day each meal and snack is eaten.
  • Food Item Information: Food name or brand
  • Cooking method: (broiled/fried/baked)
  • Sauces added
  • Restaurant name: if you eat out

Be specific.
A ‘bowl of cereal’ will not be as helpful as ‘1 cup of corn flakes with ½ cup of 2% milk.’

Consider carbohydrate grams.
How much you eat is as important as what you eat. Please write down the serving amount and how many grams of carbohydrates this is equal to. Examples of how to record serving size:

  • Cups: 1 cup of 1% milk
  • Ounces: 6 ounces of fish
  • Pieces: 1 slice of a 12” pizza
  • Tablespoons or teaspoons: 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise

If applicable write how many units of insulin you took at mealtime/snack-time.

Helpful Tip


If the food has a label you could clip this label and attach it to your food records.

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