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How to Keep a 72 Hour Food Record

Understand Your Eating Habits

A 72-hour food record is a helpful tool for understanding your eating habits and gaining valuable
insights to make informed decisions about your nutrition and health. This requires commitment
and accuracy, so it’s important to approach it with diligence and honesty. Here are a few tips:

  1. Choose a Recording Method You Will Use: You can use a notebook, a smartphone app, or
    an online food diary. Ensure that it is easily accessible and convenient or you won’t use it.
  2. Start with Detailed Information: Record the date and time of each meal or snack. Be
    specific about the portion sizes and the brands or ingredients used in your meals.
  3. Include All Food and Beverages: Write down everything you consume, including meals,
    snacks, beverages, and condiments. Include any added sugar or sweeteners, oils, or dressings.
  4. Be Accurate with Portion Sizes: Use measuring cups, food scales, or visual references
    (e.g., a deck of cards for meat) to help you estimate the amounts as accurately as possible.
  5. Include Preparation Methods: Note how the food was prepared (e.g., baked, grilled,
    sautéed) and any added ingredients or cooking oils used in the process.
  6. Include Eating Context: Take note of the circumstances surrounding your meals, such as
    eating alone or with others, at home or outside, and whether you were distracted while eating.
  7. Be Honest and Non-Judgmental: Record your food choices honestly without judgment. The
    purpose of the food record is to gain insights, not to critique or evaluate your eating habits.
  8. Include Detailed Descriptions: Describe your food items in detail. For example, instead of
    simply writing “sandwich,” specify the type of bread, filling, and condiments used.
  9. Consider Additional Information (optional): If you have any dietary restrictions or specific
    goals (e.g., weight loss, managing a medical condition), you may want to track additional
    information like calories, macronutrients, or specific nutrients.
  10. Stay Consistent and Timely: Record your food intake promptly after each meal or snack to
    ensure accuracy. Waiting too long may lead to forgetfulness or inaccuracies in portion sizes.
  11. Review and Reflect: Once you’ve completed the 72-hour food record, review it to identify
    patterns, areas for improvement, or any insights about your eating habits. Reflect on your food
    choices and consider if they align with your health goals.
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