Weight-Loss Software > Printable Food Journal
Printable Food Journal, Finding the Best
By Terry Dunkle, DietPower Editor-In-Chief*
A printable food journal can help your doctor or dietitian spot opportunities for improvement in your eating or vitamin and mineral supplementation.
The most efficient journals are those that let you log your foods on your computer or on a private webpage, choosing the foods from a large database that includes nutrition facts about each food.
Here's what to look for when choosing one of these programs:
A Large Food Database
Don't bother with a printable food journal that doesn't cover at least 20,000 foods. Make sure it isn't inflating its food count by duplicating the same food under different names ("soft drink" and "soda," for example) or serving sizes (ounces and cups, teaspoons and tablespoons).
Even if the database is huge—50,000 unique foods or more—ask whether you can add your own foods by entering nutrition facts from their labels.
If you're looking at an online food journal that allows any user to contribute foods or recipes, steer clear unless the company certifies that the user-added foods are carefully checked for accuracy. Otherwise, you'll be at the mercy of everyone else's typographical errors.
In addition, ask whether such a database removes dupes. You won't enjoy scrolling through dozens of copies of the same food.
Finally, ask when and how often the nutrient data is updated. If it's more than two or three years old, look elsewhere.
Ease of Use
A printable food journal shouldn't take you more than five to ten minutes a day to maintain. Test-drive it for a few days, and if logging your meals takes longer than that, try a different brand.
Broad Choice of Printouts
Watch for a printable food journal that lets you choose among nutrient profiles for the past day, week, month, quarter, and year. Naturally, you should also choose one that prints out a particular form or style of report that your doctor or dietitian prefers.
The very best printable food journal is one that not only analyzes the nutrients in your foods, but actually recommends foods you like that are best for your nutrient balance. The only program I know that does this is DietPower®, advertised on this page. (If you find another, please click the comment link below.)
*Terry Dunkle is a 30-year veteran medical journalist and consumer advocate who serves as CEO and chief editor at DietPower, Inc., a leading maker of nutrition and weight-loss software.