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Use a Food and Mood Diary to Improve Your Mental Health

A food and mood diary will help you determine which foods are helping and hurting your mental health and moods. Read more and download one from HealthyPlace.

A food and mood diary is one of the best and easiest ways to keep track of how food affects your moods. Exactly as it sounds, a food and mood diary (aka food and mood journal or chart) is used to track the foods you eat and document what impact they have on your mood.

What Does a Food and Mood Diary Look Like?

Despite the word diary or journal potentially making it sound like a super laborious endeavor, they’re actually pretty simple to use. A food and mood diary provides space to write down what you’ve eaten at given parts of the day and then record how you feel afterward.

A quick browse online will show you that various other pen-and-paper diaries have a few different options. Some look like standard charts where you write down the time you ate, what you ate, and then how it made you feel, as well as any other thoughts you might have. Others are as simplistic as a table dividing meal times and days of the week with a space to put what you’ve eaten and then the option to indicate whether the food made you feel good or bad.

There are also apps you can download onto your smartphone or tablet. Searching “food and mood tracker” or “food and mood diary” brings up several options to choose from that work on the same premise as traditional paper journals. Try them out and find one that works best for you.

One site recommended waiting an hour before logging how each food item has made you feel, presumably to allow time for the digestion process to kick in.

How Does a Food and Mood Diary Help Mental Health?

Using a food and mood journal or chart will help you start to notice patterns in how the foods you’re eating might have a greater impact on your mental health. While you can try to keep track of that information in your mind, having something in writing comes in handy so you don’t forget information along the way.

Because of the effects food can have on your mental health, it’s good to know the best foods for mental health; which foods hurt and which foods help your mental health. The food and mood diary, then, is a great tool allowing you to have data on which foods to have more of and which ones to avoid or only have in moderation.

Not only can this help improve your mental health in the time surrounding the food consumption, but it will help create better eating habits to improve mental health in the long-run as well.

Where to Get a Food and Mood Diary

As mentioned above, there are a few apps that can be downloaded to a smartphone or tablet. You can find them by searching for “food and mood diaries or trackers”. Here are 3 food and mood diary apps that seem to be very popular.

  1. MyFitnessPal
  2. MySymptoms Food and Symptom Tracker
  3. FoodUcate

Other than that, there are several free food and mood journal templates online that can be found by using the same keyword search. You can print them or make your own based off what you find. If you’re going on this food and mood journey with your doctor, check in to see if he or she has any recommendations of diaries, charts, or journals to try.

article references

APA Reference
Barton, L. (2018, May 10). Use a Food and Mood Diary to Improve Your Mental Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/self-help/food-mental-health/use-food-and-mood-diary-improve-your-mental-health

Last Updated: June 20, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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