Healthy Outdoor Living

Keep a Food Diary to Manage Your Diet on Your Next Camping Road Trip

More from Outdoor Living Newsletter November Outdoor Living Newsletter
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Greasy food tips the scales

Life on the road can be a wonderful way to experience the world, slowly taking in the changes in climate, culture, and landscape. Cultural changes mean you get chance to sample a variety of delicious cuisines that you don't normally eat. Some of this can be surprisingly unhealthy and mixed with a long time on the road and limited exercise you could have a recipe for caloric disaster.

Luckily, road trip warriors are not helpless in the road battle against the bulge. You can control the calories by keeping a food diary to record daily intake of nutrients. By adding a component that tracks your daily caloric output, you can accurately gauge how healthy your diet is, and make changes along the way.

What a Food Diary Entails

Food diaries can be brief or meticulous, but they need to include daily caloric intake and expenditure amounts.

To calculate the intake, refer to the dietary labels on the back of products. Many major chain restaurants have their information available on their websites, and most will provide that information upon request. If you forget to check dietary labels or if restaurants don't provide nutrition information you can reference book resources and online calorie counters allow for accurate estimations.

The Calorie Counter is a free resource that provides nutrition information on a variety of different foods.

Calculating expenditure is more difficult because it encompasses age, difficulty of activity, height, level of fitness, and weight, to name a few. It is, however, vital in understanding our overall health, as we seek to balance what comes in and what goes out.

Health Status provides an extremely detailed calorie expenditure calculator.

Once you've determined the amount of daily calories you need, Straight Health offers a tool that allows us to see a break down of the different amounts of macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins), minerals, and vitamins you need daily.

Particularly in regard to diets, variety is the spice of life. On the road, it may not always be easy to get all your daily needs every day, so it may be better to set up your food diary in such a way to meet weekly requirements instead of daily ones.

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