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A food diary template is a perfect tool for anyone who prefers paper trackers over apps.
Not only is it the best way to stay on top of healthy eating in general, but it also helps you keep track of your progress when you’re doubling down on a specific goal.
Below you will find 20 free printables that include sections for writing down all your meals and snacks. Use it as a meal planner or log your food items throughout the day.
These are also an easy way to track your water intake! Just color in one of the glasses once you’ve finished 8 ounces of water.
Similar templates you may like:
- If you landed here and realized you’re only interested in tracking your water intake rather than your meals, you can grab a free water tracker instead right here.
- If you need a more in-depth activity tracker, you may also want to consider a workout log or a workout calendar.
- If you need help defining your goals, take a look at our goal planners here.
What is a food log?
A food diary is a tool used to log your food intake over time. It’s the best way to keep track of what you’re eating and how much.
There are plenty of apps you can download that help you do this. One of the most popular (and my personal favorite) is MyFitnessPal.
But apps aren’t for everyone. If you prefer pen and paper instead, you can also use a notebook or printable food journal, such as the ones below, to keep track of your eating habits.
Whether you prefer ready-made templates or not, it’s an excellent way to stay on top of your health and nutrition goals and maintain a balanced diet.
The benefits of keeping a daily food journal
There are several ways you can benefit from keeping track of your eating habits.
1. It helps you identify which areas need adjustments.
Keeping a food diary pulls back the cloak on your eating patterns. It helps you pinpoint any unhealthy habits you currently have so that you can make the appropriate lifestyle changes.
Here’s a real-life example: Maybe, after a few days of logging your food, you realize your afternoon coffee has way too many calories for your current goals.
So, you might need to make an adjustment to get a coffee that’s lighter on calories so that you have room for a high-protein snack later on in the day.
2. It’s a helpful weight loss tool.
If this is your end goal, you will more than likely have some daily totals to keep track of – whether your plan is to track calories, carbs, macros, portions, or something else.
A food log will help you keep track of the numbers that matter if that’s important to you.
There’s definitely an accountability factor here, too. When you know you have to write down everything you’re eating, it gives you an extra little push to make better choices.
It can help you identify trigger foods.
It’s extremely helpful to know your trigger foods, especially when it comes to food intolerances and sensitivities. But they can sometimes be difficult to identify.
By writing down your meals and snacks, you may be able to spot foods that you notice are affecting your energy levels or making you feel not-so-great in general.
Side note: If you’re using the templates below for this reason, you can use the notes section to keep track of any unpleasant symptoms that pop up after eating certain types of food. This info will be useful to read back over after a few weeks of logging.
It can help you eat more healthy food on a regular basis.
You can still benefit from keeping a food journal even if you are at a healthy weight.
Your goal may have absolutely nothing to do with weight loss. For example, maybe you just want to include more foods from a certain food group – like veggies.
Or, maybe you’ve realized you need to work on your protein intake, so you’d like to be mindful of that when you’re preparing your daily meals.
Either way, keeping your own food diary is a great way to stay on top of it and make better food choices.
Bottom line: You can use a dietary journal template to track whatever details are important or relevant to you and your own personal journey.
Tips for using these templates
These trackers are pretty simple and straightforward to use, but the biggest tip I can give you is to use either a folder with prongs or a three-ring binder to keep your pages organized.
You may want to consider printing out a few copies at one time so that you have enough for the week, month, quarter, or even the entire year if you want.
Either way, it’s important to have a designated spot for them. This prevents them from getting lost or contributing to paper clutter around your house.
It’s also so helpful if you ever want to go back for meal ideas.
After all, if you’ve read over my meal planning tips, you know that having a list of ideas to pull from is game-changing when you’re planning your meals and making your grocery lists.
Free printable food journal templates
With 20 free food journals to choose from, hopefully, one of these is what you’re looking for!
Option #1: Daily food diary
A daily layout is perfect for you if you would rather focus on one day at a time instead of the entire week. This design includes several different things to track including…
- water intake
- any daily totals that matter to you
In addition, there’s a spot to write down your top priorities for the day and keep up with your daily activity. There’s also a “today I will” section for setting your intentions for the day.
And, there’s a notes section with enough space for tracking your mood or any other smaller details that are important to you.
Options #2: Weekly food diary
A weekly layout might be a better option if you don’t really have a need to track all the extras. This design will save you some paper too since there are 7 days on one sheet.
If you look closely, you’ll also notice that this template doesn’t have the meals labeled with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. This is on purpose!
I realize that some people don’t eat “3 square meals” per day. They may eat more mini meals or they may eat 2 large meals.
So, if you just wanna track the things you’re eating without worrying about which category it falls under, these are for you.
There’s also a bonus section at the top for writing your top goals for the week. If you haven’t noticed, we really like goal-setting around here.
A food diary template is a nice tool to have for anyone who wants to take a closer look at their eating habits or keep track of calories, carbs, protein, fiber, macros, or anything else!
It’s a really helpful printable tool for identifying patterns in your eating habits so you can make healthier choices over time or pinpoint certain foods that may be causing you discomfort.
Which one is your favorite?