My Daughter’s Food Journal

My daughter was recently tasked with keeping a food journal for her science class. She really got into recording all her meals, and it made me realize this could be a good exercise for any elementary aged child—no matter what kind of diet they’re eating! If you feel like you’re constantly nagging your kid to “eat more veggies” and “stop asking me for Lunchables,” then a track record of how varied and healthy their diet really is might just be the wake up call they need.

I think it’s super important to not just tell your kids what foods to eat but to explain to them why they need to eat them. I know if my kids grow up eating their veggies only because mommy said so, it might not get us very far.

But I truly believe that most little ones want to do the right thing, so while arming them with the knowledge they need about eating right might not get them to wake up asking for spinach, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to give it a chance! On that note, below are my daughter’s food journal samples as well as a (free) blank template if you’d like to try this at home! Please skip over the crazy spelling errors (something we’re working on around here!) and any miscounted grains, veggies, etc.

My Daughter’s Food Journal

My Daughter's Food Journal (Day 4) on 100 Days of #RealFood

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Day 1
My Daughter's Food Journal (Day 3) on 100 Days of #RealFood
Day 2
My Daughter's Food Journal (Day 2) on 100 Days of #RealFood
Day 3
My Daughter's Food Journal (Day 1) on 100 Days of #RealFood
Day 4


Keep Your Own Food Journal!

Food Journal Worksheet Screenshot on 100 Days of #RealFood
Click to download a free blank Food Journal template!

I’d love to hear your thoughts about trying this (and if you think it would work) in the comments.

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29 thoughts on “My Daughter’s Food Journal”

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  1. As i sit here, eating lunch. I am reading this postn looking at the cover of your cookbook and eating a taco bell burrito. I struggled to put my family on a strict diet from a nutrionist. Backfired-cue eating issues, kids wont eat, hubs give hard time, mom feel like failure. I recently went for a check up and he said “journaling. Is the beginning”. I came across your article at the right time. We are a defcon 10 family in crisis. My hubs has severe neuropathy from diabetes. My daughter has same body model. My son is fine. Me, I am overweight but healthy. I have cleared out cabinets and this weekend i plan to schedule meals. Thanks for always blogging great ideas and support!

  2. We do a similar activity in our Family & Consumer Sciences classes for all 7th grade students. Students record what they eat, drink and physical activity for 3 days. Then they do an analysis and reflect on possible improvements they could make on their plan. Love the idea, so do the parents!

  3. It’s fantastic that her teacher has tasked your daughter with doing a food diary! I wish more children and adults undertook this piece of homework for themselves from time to time – you can never get as much insight into your own diet than when it is staring back at you on a piece of paper!
    It’s an important tool in the naturopathic clinic with the clients I see, but also a great way for individuals to track why you might be feeling pretty crappy at a certain time everyday, or waking up tired every morning.
    Loved this post, thank you for sharing :D

  4. Thanks for posting this template, love it. And thanks for posting honest examples at the risk of having them analysed for content, rather than just an example of a great idea. If only my kids journals would be this balanced!

  5. Lately, when I click “Continue Reading” on a post. A creepy “Message from our Sponsors” page appears. The page does not look legit and I have difficulty navigating back to without clicking into what I’m afraid will be a virus-ridden web page. Just thought it might be something you want to look into if you didn’t know about it yet. Thanks for all you do!

  6. Wouldn’t this (food journal that provides your count/tally for food groups) make an AWESOME app if it was ‘user friendly’?????

    Anyone out there want to make a million!!!

    Make the APP!!!

  7. I REALLY enjoyed this! What a smart assignment from the teacher. And Sydney’s misspellings at this point do not matter. After all, what is a student taught? “Spell it like it sounds.” She did superb on all counts!!

  8. This is a wonderful post! My favorites are “apple rounds”. & home grown in parentheses!! Great job Sydney!

  9. It’s awesome that her teacher has students her age doing this! I’m a health coach and something I have my adult clients do is to keep a food diary and note how they felt after each meal or snack. That way they can begin to see how a specific food or meal makes them feel and how it effects their energy. That could be a nice addition to this exercise for kids to begin to bring an awareness that what we eat affects how we feel.

  10. I am curious about the low number of healthy fats and oils in your daughters journal. Is this coincidental or is your diet normally that low? The question is not meant condescending :) after reading much research about how fats and oils are healthy especially for young brains, I am curious where you are on it

    1. Keep in mind they eat full-fat milk and yogurt. I think maybe she just didn’t mark the fats/oils section when it fit into another category (dairy/protein). Also her dinners (gumbo, egg cheese casserole, vegetable lentil soup, and I can’t read the other one lol) seem to have plenty of fat. The granola they make is also high in fat.

    2. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Anna. Yes, in addition to Andrea’s correct observation, Lisa’s recipes in general are not lacking in healthy fats. :)

  11. Thanks for posting her journal entries. It is actually perfect timing as I was coming back to double check your stance on those organic cheddar bunnies. After reading this post and the one from 3/1/11:, I’m a bit confused on where you stand. In the post from 2011 it seems very clear that you are opposed to these crackers. Have you changed your thoughts? Right now they are currently in my pantry, thanks Costco for the large box of individual servings ;) However, I’m beginning to think they don’t belong in my house. I refuse to let my kids eat Goldfish, so am I crazy for feeding them these too? Please advise!!

    1. Great question – yes, I still very much think those crackers are just organic junk food although they do have *some* whole-wheat flour, which makes them a little better than other options. So I only buy them as a very occasional “treat,” which happened to be the food journal week. I buy a regular size box maybe 3 or 4 times a year just as something different/special. My kids do like them of course, but they are not an everyday food for us. I hope that helps!

  12. Love it!! I’m thinking I want to try this for myself! I haven’t been doing as well. Been bad about not getting in my fruits and veggies for the day. Maybe keeping a chart will help me stay on track. Thanks for sharing! Tell her she’s doing a great job of eating healthy! I will show this to my 9 year old daughter and I’m sure it will help inspire her! :)

  13. You should post a link to this journal for anyone who asks “where’s the protein??” :) looks very well balanced and I LOVE her spelling!!

  14. I was very surprise to see how little your daughter snacks. I sometimes worry my daughter snacks too much, about 4-5 times a day and on weekends a little more. I will note that my daughter is very active for an 8year old; for example this week she lap swam 3 times for an 1.25-1.5 hours each, one hour bare foot conditioning class, soccer 3 times for about 1-1.75 hours each, rode her bike to soccer two times (very hilly about 3.5 miles), one 9 mile mountain hike, rode a horse for about two hours, ran at a school event for 30 mins and also whatever activities she gets at lunch and recess. Most of her snacks are fruits, vegis/dip, seaweed, nuts and crackers. I try to make the majority of them fruits and vegis but because she snacks so much crackers almost always become a part of her daily diet. What are your thoughts on snacking so often and how I can do it better?

    1. Honestly, this question needs to be directed at either your daughter’s pediatrician or a nutritionist/dietitian. (I am none of the above)

      However, if I was that active, I’d be eating all day too. Also, based on the foods that you’ve listed, she is probably getting all of the micronutrients and electrolytes she needs to sustain such a high activity level, and as long as she’s not over weight, I’d say to feed her if she’s hungry.

  15. I used something like this when I was pregnant, to make sure I was getting enough of all the extra nutrients I needed. It was super helpful! Plus, it helped me keep track of what might be making me feel sick and stuff.

  16. Oh my goodness that it the cutest thing ever! Way to go Sydney on eating real food! My girl is 8 and loves real food and is equally adorable:)