Often for planning purposes I will track my breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the morning. Then I can make changes later and decide if I need to add/remove a snack, etc.
Fitness Minutes: (50,094)
1,563 8/6/13 9:56 P
As soon as I get to work in the morning I track what I've packed for the day (usually my coffee, breakfast, lunch, and usually a snack or two). Then at night I track what I had for dinner and any additional nibbles in between. :)
Fitness Minutes: (75,087)
5,412 8/6/13 9:52 P
I track as I go throughout the day. Sometimes I will track my lunches in advance if I make them the night before for work. Tracking as I go is better for me so I can remember the exact amounts of foods.
I tend to track my breakfast the night before and then the rest of the day after each meal. I seem to have better luck this way
Fitness Minutes: (26,573)
73 8/5/13 6:46 P
Personally, I'm pretty bland and I tend to eat the same thing day after day. So I find it best to enter all my meals and snacks first thing in the morning, or the night before. I know what I will be having for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I know what my snacks will be. So it's pretty easy. The other good side is, I can see before hand, if I have any wiggle room with my calories at the beginning of the day, rather then waiting until the end and finding out that my extra after dinner plum, has pushed me over my limit. Also I can see how entering the calories after every meal could become exhausting.
Edited by: MCASKEY6 at: 8/5/2013 (18:47)
Fitness Minutes: (46,241)
212 8/5/13 5:51 P
While I'm off for the summer I track my calories after every meal. Once school starts I may have to track everything when I get home later in the day.
Fitness Minutes: (9,263)
672 8/5/13 5:37 P
I usually track in the evening for the next day, and then make any minor adjustments at each meal as the day goes along on my iphone app.
A lot of times I will plan out what I eat before the first meal of the day, it makes it a lot easier for me to see what I am eating for the day. Sometimes if I know if I am going out; I try and decrease the calories from snacks and lunch to compensate for the 550-600 calories I am going to be dealing with at dinner! I don't like to have a total bomb out day unless its pizza and salad night, I can't control myself too well there, but I am doing much better honest~
Fitness Minutes: (110,385)
13,637 8/5/13 12:33 A
Depends if I'm home or not (don't have a Smartphone), and whether or not I'm struggling with cravings (I track more often when I am). After several years of faithfully tracking my food, I've gained a fairly good sense of what to eat through the day to balance my nutrients.
I usually track after my third or fourth mini-meal, in the evening. From those totals, I see what I need to eat to reach my daily nutrition goals. For example, if I'm low on fiber and calcium, my last mini-meal of the day could be cereal (or some other fiber-rich food) with milk.
However, no matter what, I weigh and measure and WRITE DOWN everything I eat when I eat it. From those detailed notes, I enter the information on my food tracker. I know I'll always track - I've been dealing with severe food issues since childhood, due to CSA.
Fitness Minutes: (27,760)
843 8/4/13 10:35 P
I usually track my breakfast and lunch (and sometimes snacks) at the same time, first thing in the morning. I track my dinner early in the afternoon, or whenever I've had a chance to find out from my husband what he's making. :) If I know I'll be having a meal out or something like that, I track it as soon as I can (often days in advance), so I can plan around it to stay in range.
During the week I eat the same breakfast, lunch and snacks, so I enter them all at the same time, usually at lunchtime. Dinner depends on what I feel like eating, and I tweak it so it fits my calorie goal for the day. For example, if I've entered dinner and I'm low on calories for the day, I might add half an avocado.
I think it depends on your schedule and your own personality.
I am lucky (?) in that I'm retired and have the luxury of being able to log in here whenever the notion occurs. As a result, I amend my Tracker every time I put anything in my mouth.
Trying to track ahead is a complete disaster for me: I don't always eat what I intend to eat - or I overeat and then don't add it in (after all, all my foods are already entered, right? it looks good! I'm not going to mess with it!). If I track as, or right after, I eat, I'm more honest about it. Disgusted sometimes, but honest.
You just have to try different methods and see what works the best for you. The important thing is to just keep tracking!
Fitness Minutes: (8,689)
7 8/3/13 1:14 P
When I first started out, I'd track as soon as I was able to after each meal. As time passed, I became more familiar with the nutrient balance of my favorite foods and can choose them in combinations that get me pretty close to my nutrient goals by the end of the day. Now, I track just once per day before my afternoon snack and dinner on most days. This way, I can make any little tweaks needed to those meals to put me right on target by the end of the day. Other days I will track more often, especially if I'm introducing new foods I don't eat often just to make sure I am on track.
Edited by: MY_TRUE_PHOENIX at: 8/3/2013 (13:24)
Fitness Minutes: (17,607)
332 8/3/13 11:56 A
Usually once a day, in the evening works best for me, don't want to obsess about calories, if my clothes fit well l'm happy.
Fitness Minutes: (14,611)
833 8/3/13 11:28 A
I m not a very good planner, so I track as soon as I can after I eat. I admire those who can plan ahead and track ahead.
what's best varies from person to person. there isn't one right way and the rest are wrong. there is only what works best for you. people who aren't on the internet much might track once a day. people who have the app on their phones might track every item as it comes in front of them. if you are worried about missing something, jot down what you ate and how much on a post-it or a notepad so that you can track it later. for people just starting out, tracking everything before they eat it can be a great way to learn portion sizes and calories. for someone who has been doing this for a while and who is trying to eat intuitively, tracking it all at the end of the day is a great way to check up on where they think they are.
Thank you so much for all the replies! That offers a lot of insights. I never realized even that one can also track ahead of time. I haven't tracked calories for a looong time and back when I learned how, I would use a food plan and always counted them at the end of the day after supper. It's good to know there are different ways to do it. I may give it a try to track in the morning.
Fitness Minutes: (32,711)
21,512 8/3/13 7:20 A
I track after each meal, then I can tweak at the end of the day if necessary. This method has helped me considerably in reaching my goal, as well as ensuring that my nutrition is balanced.
I don't track ahead of time because I don't necessarily know what I will fancy later - I am one of those who goes by what I feel like eating at the time, rather than what has been prescribed ahead of time. I can't enjoy my food that way.
Fitness Minutes: (13,184)
1,898 8/3/13 7:09 A
I track every morning, planning out the entire day's meals and snacks. That way I know I'm within my calorie range, and I'm hitting the right percentages on carbs, fat, protein etc. If I just ate... whatever... all day and then tracked it at the end of the day, or after I already ate it-- I very well may end up over on the calories by 4:30 and have nothing left for dinner. Sure there are times I decide I don't want to eat what I'd planned after all. It's easy enough though to go in there and see that if I want to sub in corn on the cob, I need to cut out the brown rice and keep the broccoli.
I don't track a week at a time like Russell, but I do plan (on paper) a month's worth of dinner menus at a time, for grocery shopping purposes. I do one major shopping trip a month and then weekly just pick up fresh produce.
If I am not working I track as I go. If I am working I track at the end of the night...my plan for august...by the 5th: will be to plan the night prior and have it ready to go
Fitness Minutes: (47,890)
161 8/2/13 11:48 P
I usually track what I've eaten so far when I get home from work in the afternoon. Weekdays my breakfast, lunch and snacks are usually pretty similar anyway and I plan dinners for the week before I shop on Saturday so there aren't too many surprises unless I go way off track on a day.
I pre-track dinners several days in advance, most of the time. I almost always track breakfasts, lunches and snacks right after I eat, but when I'm crunched for time I'll do it at the end of the day. I very rarely track the following day because it's harder to remember the details, since I track everything in grams.
Whatever method is "best" is whatever method works best for you. If you have a hard time remembering what you ate, it's a good idea to track as soon as possible. If you have everything pre-measured and ready for preparation, it's easy to track ahead of time. If you have the app on your phone you can do it on the go. Just do what you like.
I tend to track as I go. I could never track several days in advance, as I just can't know what I'm going to want to eat (or how much of it) more than about a meal in advance. Will i want 5 ounces of chicken next Tuesday? Or a 3.5 ounce pork chop? Will I want green beans, or will i discover corn on the cob for sale and want that instead? Don't know! Will
Yes, it can seem cumbersome to track as you go - but I'm always near the computer anyways, so it's not that big a deal for me.
Fitness Minutes: (63,216)
2,489 8/2/13 12:10 P
For me, I've always planned out what I'm going to eat at least a day in advanced, sometimes a couple days. It helps me to eat up what is going to spoil first, prepare meals in advance and allows me to balance my macros. It also saves me time during the day contemplating what I'm going to eat and if it's going to have enough protein, or this or that. It ensures I stay in my range as well. Of course, if needed I make substitutions or change things.
What is best is to track 7 days ahead, and then make a grocery list from your tracker, and buy just those foods.
Tracking afterwards is like not steering your car, but taking notes later on how many kids you ran over. You are just a witness to the disaster that befell you during the day.
If you track after, how do you know if it was the proper calories, and macros for every meal, and for the day until at the end? How do you buy groceries, if you don't know what you are going to eat next week?
If you wake up today, and know you are eating 2301 calories, and what every meal is, and at what time you will eat it, you have a greater chance of sticking to the plan. It is hard to stick to a plan, if you have none.
I do the same as LGregg, I track in the morning for the whole day or at least what I know of the day. Then I'll fill in the gaps (usually just dinner) the next morning.
Fitness Minutes: (68,221)
117 8/2/13 10:26 A
I track twice a day. Once for breakfast, lunch, and snacks (in the morning before I eat breakfast or as I'm eating my breakfast). and then once again after dinner. I do this so that I can plan my day and know how many calories I have "leftover" for dinner. Occasionally, if I'm really good about my pre-planning I can track just once a day (in the morning). This helps me to keep track of exactly what I'm going to be eating for the day so I dont forget anything.
But, I recommend playing around with it to find what method works best for you (:
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