Feeling unwell after eating? Monitor your symptoms using our handy food diary

15 February 2017

If you’re feeling unwell after mealtimes, chances are you’ll want to find out why. But with so many different ingredients on your plate, how do you know what’s causing the problem? Could it be an intolerance to dairy or gluten? Irritable bowel syndrome? Maybe even an allergy? Trying to figure out what’s not agreeing with your body isn’t always easy.

A coffee cup, diary and pen

Feeling unwell could be anything from tummy pain, to a migraine or eczema.  Before you take matters into your own hands and start eliminating food groups from your diet, it’s best to speak to your doctor or dietitian. If you’re experiencing symptoms and suspect it might be something in your diet, keeping a food diary is a great tool to help you identify the cause.

We’ve created this easy-to-use food diary to help you monitor your symptoms over a week. Print off a couple of weeks diaries and fill them out in as much detail as possible. Bring these with you to your next appointment so your doctor or dietitian can go through them with you in detail.

To help you get the most out of your food diary, follow these simple steps.

  • Try to fill out your food diary for at least two weeks.
  • Don’t forget to note down all fluids. This includes caffeinated drinks (and any sugars added), juices and alcohol.
  • Give details of how the food was prepared. For example, instead of writing ‘fish’, write: ‘Cod fillet fried in breadcrumbs’.
  • Be honest. Even if you know your meal wasn’t the healthiest choice, write it down. It’s important for your doctor or dietitian to get a complete picture of your diet.
  • Complete your food diary at a time that’s truly representative of your usual diet. Avoid filling it out on occasions such as your birthday or Christmas.
  • Take it with you. Keep your food diary with you so you can make note of everything you eat throughout the day. If you try to fill everything out at once, you might forget some vital ingredients.
  • Include as much detail as possible. For example, instead of writing a ‘salad sandwich’, write: ‘Two slices of white bread, mayonnaise, cheese & tomato’.
  • Use the ‘Other notes’ section to keep a record of anything else you may want to speak to your dietitian about. For example, any medications taken, exercise or thoughts.

Please click here to download a PDF of the food and symptoms diary (1 MB).
A food and symptoms diary from Bupa UK
Dietitian at Bupa UK

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