To track your food in a bullet journal, you’ll want to determine which of the following elements are essential for you in your food tracking habit to achieve the goals you’ve set:
- Time of day
- Food cost
- Food usage
Once you’ve decided which type of the above entries will help you reach your goal, you can choose the food tracking system that works best for you in your bullet journal. Then, use that system to develop your plan!
BulletJournal.com, the website owned by the creator of the Bullet Journal, Ryder Carrol, recommends assigning an entire spread to just one weekly food log, rather than monthly or daily spreads. This method will allow you to modify your goals and see patterns in a timely fashion to adjust quickly.
First, let’s begin with the basics of tracking your food in a bullet journal before we dive into more creative options.
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How to Create a Weekly Food Log in a Bullet Journal
To begin, turn to the next plank spread in your bullet journal. You’ll want to title this spread with something related to your food tracking; perhaps it’s as simple as “Food Log,” or maybe it’s more specific like “Meal Planning.” Choose a title that’s based on your goals, then write the date range next to it.
Fasting & Food Log March 1-7
On the left-hand side of the spread, divide the page into seven vertical sections. Assign a day to each section. Make sure you have enough room beneath each day’s section to record whatever it is that you want to track.
On the right-hand side of the spread, create your grocery list. This list will come together as you add in your planned meals for the week into the food calendar on the left-hand side of the spread.
In this example, we’re tracking our fasting schedule and what we plan to eat during our eating window.
Fast until 1 p.m. / Eating window 1 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Green salad with balsamic dressing
However, you can also use this section to track the number of meals you plan to have that day. Abbreviate the meal times vertically beneath the day of the week abbreviation. This would look more like:
B Oatmeal and blueberries
L Tuna salad on greens
D Pasta with red sauce
Next, we’d add each of the ingredients for these planned meals to the grocery list on the right-hand side of the spread.
There are two schools of thought on food logs. One idea says that you should set this food log up at the beginning of each week. Then, fill out each section ahead of time, so you have a plan heading into your week. Some say you’re more likely to stay on track this way.
However, if your goal is to track what you are eating simply, you may approach a food log differently. If you’re merely tracking without a plan, build a template instead at the beginning of each week. Each space would be blank until you’ve eaten a meal.
If you want to add calories, micronutrients or macronutrients, or food costs, simply add these stats next to each food entry.
If you want to create a monthly food log, you may need to use the entire spread for your food calendar. You’d create a new spread for your shopping list.
Creative Examples of Food Tracking in a Bullet Journal
Here are some creative examples of tracking food in your bullet journal.
1. Track How Each Meal Makes You Feel
Next to each daily log’s meals, use emojis to note how you felt after eating each meal. You can mark an emoji next to the meal line, or create emoji columns to the far right, then use checkmarks to fill in the corresponding columns. For example:
B Bacon and eggs 😐
L Mac and cheese 🙁
D Grilled salmon and veggies 🙂
2. Add and Track New Recipes
If you have a Pinterest board full of recipes that you’d like to try, eventually add them to your bullet journal! To do this, create your daily food log as we’ve described above. But, instead of adding ho-hum meals to your breakfast, lunch, and dinner lines, add a new recipe.
Then, write out that recipe in a new recipe collection in your bullet journal. Finally, add the ingredients for that recipe to your grocery list on the right-hand side of the spread.
Note where you can find the recipe page beside the meal entry in your food log. For example:
B Brioche French Toast Bake (p. 44)
L Green salad with chicken
D Mushroom Stroganoff (p. 46)
3. Track What Time You’re Eating
Some people find adding a column to their food calendar for time is valuable. This means you’d add what time you ate each meal next to your day of the week and meal entry.
For some, tracking the time they ate is an excellent way to recognize patterns in mood and energy. If you find that you’re feeling low energy around 3 p.m. every day, check your food log. Perhaps it’s time to switch up what you ate and when you ate it.
4. Calorie Consumption and Burn
In addition to marking how many calories you’re consuming in each meal; you can track how many you burned through exercise.
If your goal is weight loss, this is a good entry to keep in your food log in your bullet journal.
You’ll probably want to start a new page for the calorie consumption and burn tracker. To keep things simple and organized, use the right-hand side spread of your food tracker (where your grocery list would otherwise go) to track calories in and calories out adjacent to your food calendar.
On the left-hand side, keep your food calendar where it is and track days and meals as usual.
On the right-hand side, create a bar chart for each day. One bar should show calories consumed on a horizontal scale (say 1,200 calories to 3,000 calories). The bar beneath it should show calories burned through exercise or other activities.
This way, each day you’ll be able to see a visual representation of the calories that went in and the calories that went out. Are you exceeding calories consumed with calories burned, or are you just barely breaking even?
See what this looks like in action over at Tiny Ray of Sunshine, a blog about experimenting to improve your own life and the lives of others.
Why Should I Track My Food in a Bullet Journal?
It would be best if you used your bullet journal to track your food because:
- It helps you plan for healthy meals
- You’ll spend less money on groceries with a meal plan in place
- It’s easier to track how much you’re eating when you write it down
- You’ll hold yourself accountable for those occasional slip-ups that may not be so occasional
- You can track how food choices impact your other trackers, such as mood, energy, and productivity
Food tracking in a bullet journal is not just about losing weight. There are many reasons and ways to track your food consumption to meet all kinds of food goals, whether you’re trying to improve your energy, improve your mood, or try new recipes. Decide your goals and use them to build a food tracker that works best for you!