Start your Healthy Lifestyle with 3 Food Diary DOs

Three Food Diary DOs

Start Your Healthy Lifestyle out with Food Diary DOs

Last week, I wrote about something I am very passionate about – Living a Healthy Lifestyle. Often there comes a point in our life where you find yourself asking “how did I get to this point in my life, am I even happy right now?” For me, I asked myself this question when I finished my MBA and Dietetic Internship. My two-year program became a blur and I was starting to question what I was doing with my life. I wasn’t healthy like I promoted myself to be and I wasn’t as happy as I thought I was. Something needed to change to get my health back on track and the first thing I knew I wanted to work on was my nutrition (shocker, I know).

The first step I took to working on my nutrition was starting to track my food. I used, and still continue to use, MyFitnessPal. This was and still is the best step you can take to start living a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, I believe it’s only fair to let you know the DOs when it comes to food tracking since it can be a dangerous activity depending on how you go about it.

Three DOs When it Comes to starting a food diary

DO start off by just tracking what you normally eat.

When it comes to starting to track your food, you might think you need to change everything and instantly become healthy. Thinking about changing everything is exhausting and can end up backfiring on you. When you first start tracking your food don’t make changes to your diet. Instead, log everything and look at your nutrition overall. Having a log of the foods you eat over the course of a week can offer some extra insight. From there you can zone in on what foods are common in your diet, what foods aren’t so common, and how they are contributing to your overall health – which brings me to my next DO.

DO look at your nutrients.

When I use MyFitnessPal I jump from two screens the most – my actual food diary and my nutrients nutrition. I find it extremely important to understand how your diet holds up when it comes to your macronutrients. {Macronutrients are carbohydrates, fat, and protein.} Our body survives on the nutrients we provide it so it becomes important to look at our nutrients as a whole. Are you lacking in protein? Have an overconsumption of carbohydrates? If you are interested in more than macronutrients, the screen also shows your micronutrients as well.

DO write notes throughout the day

Ever notice you’re ready for bed at like 5 pm only to realize you haven’t eaten since 10 am? When it comes to tracking your food, one thing I always like to do is make notes on my food diary. I usually note when I am extremely tired, feeling sick, have a headache, or feeling anything really. Our nutrition is so important that it really can affect our overall health for the day. During my first part-time job there were days I skipped lunch and thought nothing of it but then it came to driving to my next part-time job and I was hard to stay awake. I was able to make the connection of not having enough fuel in my body due to skipping lunch. By creating notes in my food diary I was able to see patterns and make changes for the better and see improvement.

At first it might seem like a chore to track your foods, but in the long run, it can help you get a better understanding of your nutrition. To this day, I frequently go back to tracking my food for a week or so just to do a “macro check” on myself. I also continue to learn more about myself with my extra notes throughout the day.

Take that step to creating a healthy lifestyle and start tracking your food to learn more about your nutrition. As a Registered Dietitian, I work with many clients trying to build a healthy lifestyle and my first approach is starting with a food diary. I have seen great results when clients truly focus on their nutrition.

Now, my question for you today is: what is your DO when it comes to tracking your food?

Leave a comment below or share on social media with #FoodDairyDOs

And…Stay tuned for next week’s – The DON’Ts for tracking your food!

Food Diary DOs


It’s Time to Focus on a Healthy and Happy Lifestyle

Happy and healthy lifestyle

It’s time to focus on living a healthy and hAPPY lifestyle

So you have probably heard me say “healthy lifestyle” once, twice, or actually multiple times. We live in a world where diet, detox, cleanse, and clean are all keywords that are attached to nutrition. I refuse to use those words and instead I choose to say healthy lifestyle. As much as nutrition is vital to being healthy there are also other components like physical activity and mental health. Put all these together and you now have created a healthy and happy lifestyle.

Defining a Healthy and hAPPY Lifestyle

When you ask someone what a healthy lifestyle means to them you will probably get many different answers. To some, it may mean only eating healthy foods and not eating out. Others might say it is making sure to stay active and make only good choices. Now if you ask me what a healthy lifestyle means, you might be shocked by my response.

A healthy lifestyle to me is living a lifestyle that has a healthy and happy balance of nutrition and exercise.

There might be days where I eat well-balanced meals every meal and have a nutritious snack at 2 pm as well. But I also have days where I skip a lunch because I am in a meeting and then I run to the snacks in my office and eat M&Ms instead. Is this something I am proud of? No, but life is not 100% perfect and your lifestyle won’t be 100% perfect either. So finding a healthy balance between good meals and bad meals are important.

When it comes to exercising, many people have different views as well. To live a healthy lifestyle, you have to get active. That can mean you participate in yoga, CrossFit, group classes, or you get to the gym as often as possible. Doing something outside of your daily life and trying to get your heart rate up is an important component of living a healthy lifestyle.

Lastly, you might have noticed is said healthy & happy. I believe making sure you are happy is essential. You can spend hours meal prepping the most nutritious meals or spending hours in the gym but my question for you is – does that make you happy? If it does awesome, keep it up! Personally, I get miserable thinking about meal prepping my lunches for the week. So I keep it to a minimum. If you aren’t happy, everything can seem like a chore and you will end up getting annoyed and forgetting about trying to live a healthy lifestyle.

5 Small Healthy and Happy Changes you can make today

Healthy and Happy Changes You Can Make

If you are always on the go or life is just overall chaotic, it can be hard to think about making changes to living a healthy lifestyle. Trust me, I understand that. Here are 5 small and easy changes you can make to start living a healthy and happy lifestyle.

Park at the end of the Parking Lot

If you live in the midwest, you are probably laughing at me right now. I know if it’s cold out we all want to park in the closest spot possible. But hear me out. If it’s cold out and you park at the furthest parking spot you most likely are going to power walk as fast as you can to the office or store. Which means your heart rate will get higher than if you walk normally. Those extra 2 or 3 minutes power walking can help spark the desire to become active.

Drink Water

Starting the morning with a glass of water can help jumpstart your day by waking up your mind and metabolism. Carry a waterbottle with you wherever you go. You’ll be amazed by the amount of water you will end up drinking when you are carrying a constant reminder to drink.


Ever take a second to sit in your office chair and ask yourself am I actually happy? Taking time for self-reflection is a great way to learn more about yourself and what truly makes you happy. Buy an inexpensive journal and every night right down some of your thoughts. You might be surprised with what you find out about yourself.

Buy pre-cut fruits and vegetables

How many of you currently have uncut fruit and vegetables in your fridge that probably is going to go bad soon? We all say we are going to cut it tomorrow – trust me, I am so bad with this. One small change I made to help increase my vegetable intake was buying them precut. Not only does this save me time but I can grab ‘n go my way out the door. *Bonus Secret of mine: Check out the salad bar for a mixture of fruits and vegetables already cut. Hello, tomorrow’s snack!*

Eat something for Breakfast

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and there is so much research to show it helps increase your metabolism and helps you start to lose weight. I’m not saying you need to have an elaborate breakfast every morning. I would love to have that every day but my schedule doesn’t allow that. Choose a protein and complex carbohydrate to help you start your morning and leave you satisfied. Some of my favorite breakfast items are a mixture of hard boiled eggs, whole grain toast with cream cheese, avocado toast, greek yogurt, chocolate milk, banana with peanut butter, and oatmeal. Get creative and find something that works into your timeframe that you have.

A Challenge For You 

It takes time to start changing your habits so pick at least one thing from the list above and try to incorporate it into your daily life. When it becomes a habit try another tip and so on. Start making the change to living a healthy and happy lifestyle.

Do you have additional tips to add to the list? Comment below or tag #Nutritioninchaos on social media to share with others.

The 5 Best FREE Apps for Living a Healthy Lifestyle

My top 5 FREE apps to help live a healthy lifestyle

With the amount of time we spend on our phones these days, why not utilize FREE apps to help live a healthier and happier 2017.

5 Free Healthy Apps


Living a healthy lifestyle starts with putting nutrient dense foods into your body. The best way to look at your diet is to track it. MyFitnessPal makes it easy to track your food items by having a large database, allows you to scan the product’s barcode, and allows you to input your own recipes. When it comes to tracking your diet, it is important to look at your macronutrient breakdown. Focus less on the calories and more on fueling your body with nutrient dense foods that offer great benefits.

Not about the calories, about living healthy


Ever wonder if something is a good source of fiber or potassium? Fooducate has a feature called “Food Finder.” Within this feature, you scan your food products barcode and a grade will appear on your screen. Based on the nutrient content of the product the grade can be good or bad. The best part about this feature is that it explains why it got the grade that it did. Plus, the app also provides healthier alternatives. Learning more about your food items becomes important when trying to live a healthy lifestyle.

Nike+ Training ClubFree fitness app

During the winter, it can be hard to get motivated to head to the gym so why not stay at home and do a workout. Nike+ Training club offers guided workouts that you can do at home, with little to no equipment, or in a gym. Not sure where to start when it comes to strength training, check out the apps 4-week bodyweight only program to help learn basic form. With workouts focused on interval workouts, you are sure to sweat and get stronger in no time, all in the comfort of your own home.


Active by PopSugar

Like Nike+ Training Club, Active is an app that offers both videos and guides for fitness. Choose from workouts that target certain areas or do a full-body workout. There are also workouts that can be followed for cardio exercises as well. No matter your workout schedule, there is always something to choose from on the Active app.


You always hear people talking about drinking enough water, but do you know if you are really drinking enough water? Waterlogged is a water tracking app that makes it easy to see how much you have had to drink for the day. You can add your favorite water bottle amounts to your home screen. That way tracking your water bottles is just a click away. Remember, if you are active it is extra important to stay hydrated to ensure you are achieving optimal performance.

Technology doesn’t always have to be the enemy. Utilize these FREE apps to help you start living a healthy lifestyle today! Do you love an app that isn’t on the list, comment below and let others know about it!


#17 MGMG: Continue the Journey

 Continue the Nutrition Journey

#17 MGM: Continue the journey

With 2016 coming to an end, it means that Mighty Goal Monday is also coming to a close. I have been doing this blog series for over 3 months now. If you have followed along with the series from the beginning, I appreciate it. If you checked it out every now and then I thank you as well. I took the chance to start a blog and have appreciated everything that has come from this experience and now am going to take it to the next level. Which brings me to the close of Mighty Goal Monday..for now (who knows what will happen in the future).

I challenge you to Continue the Journey

Continue the Journey

Mighty Goal Monday is all about creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Each week I challenged you to a new task to help you. This week I want you to continue the journey of living a healthy lifestyle. It can be hard to continue the journey when you don’t have someone telling you what to do. (Trust me that’s always my problem.)

Re-visit old challenges

Was there a challenge that was hard to do or you haven’t done in awhile? Go back to that post and read of different ways to go about the challenge.

Reflect monthly

With Mighty Goal Monday we only reflected on our progress about once or twice during the 16 weeks. It becomes important to reflect on your progress more often than that. Take one day during the month and ask yourself some questions.

  • Where am I know in the journey?
  • Where did I start this journey?
  • What is one or two of my strengths?
  • What is a weakness of mine?
  • How can I make a goal for myself based on my reflection?
Think outside of the Box

Is there something you consider important in living a healthy lifestyle? What makes you happy that you have not done in a long time? Make that a weekly challenge for yourself. You don’t have to do everything by the book. Find what makes you happy and make it a challenge for you since happiness is also important in living a healthy lifestyle.

Previous Mighty Goal Mondays

Did you miss a Mighty Goal Monday? Check out the complete blog series below.

#1 Adding Vegetables into your Diet
#2 Increasing your Fruit Intake
#3 Eating a Balanced Meal
#4 Increase your Water Intake
#5 Get Active
#6 Make Time for Lunch
#7 Explore your Cooking Skills
#8 Achieving Optimal Sleep
#9 Re-Evaluate your Diet
#10 Choose the Best Option
#11 Try Something New
#12 Enjoy the Holidays
#13 Find your Weakness
#14 Listen to your Body
#15 Plan Ahead
#16 Set Your Goals for 2017

Nutrition in Chaos 2017

Don’t worry, just because Mighty Goal Monday series is ending, doesn’t mean Nutrition in Chaos will disappear. I am just getting started! The past couple of weeks, I have created some SMART goals for myself both personal and professional. So stay tuned and make sure to subscribe to Nutrition In Chaos on Social Media to get notifications of new posts and other surprises I have up my sleeve for 2017!

#16 MGM: Set Your Goals for 2017

Mighty Goal Monday: Set Your Goals

#16 MGM: Set Your Goals for 2017

Did 2016 go by too fast for you? It did for me but looking back on my year, there are still things I wanted to get accomplished. I wrote down my goals in my Erin Condren Lifeplanner and looked at it occasionally throughout the year. But every time I looked at it, I always thought I’ll have more time later to work on my goals. Here we are the second to last week of 2016 and my list of goals are still there uncompleted. As a shake my head in disappointment with myself, I know something needs to be different for 2017 and that is set SMART goals instead.

This week I challenge you to create two to three SMART goals for 2017

What is a SMART goal exactly?

SMART goal stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely goals.
Specific – What is something specific you want to get accomplished in 2017? The more specific your goal is the easier it will be to know when you achieved it.
Measurable – How will you know when you are close to achieving your goal? How will you determine if you are making the right progress?
Attainable – How can I accomplish this goal? What steps do I need to make for this to happen?
Realistic – Have you had a goal like this in the past? Were you able to complete the goal or have you made changes to allow you complete the goal now?
Timely – What’s your timeframe? Is this a long-term goal or short-term goal? Is this something you plan to do weekly or monthly?

Make Your SMART Goals

When making SMART goals it is important to identify a large goal of yours and then work through each acronym letter to ask yourself questions. By working on developing your goals, you will be able to make a goal that is easier to achieve. Make 2017 better than 2016 by creating SMART goals and accomplishing them! So it’s time to take out a pen and paper and write down your 2017 SMART goals. Display them somewhere you will seem them every day as a constant reminder and motivation to keep going strong!

Examples of SMART Goals

  • I will increase my cooking skills by cooking a new recipe once a week and taking a professional cooking class once every 2 months. By June 1st, I will have developed a new recipe list or cookbook of at least 22 new recipes that I will continue to make.
  • I will increase my water consumption by drinking 6 glasses of water 4x a week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. This will last for 2 months and then I will increase my water consumption to 8 glasses of water 5x a week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I will continue this until July 2017.
  • By May 2017, I will become stronger and be able to lift my kids up to play with them. I will take a strength training class at my gym once a week on Sunday and I will strength train on my own two times a week on Tuesday and Friday.

Share your SMART goals.

Whenever you want to accomplish something, it is important to share with your family, friends, and others who may be your support group. Letting others know your goals, helps you stay accountable especially when they ask how your goal are going for you. Share your goals with me and others by using #MightyGoalMonday #NutritioninChaos. I can’t wait to see what awesome SMART goals we come up with as a community.

#13 MGM: Find Your Weakness

healthy lifestyle goal and weakness improvements

#13 MGM: Find Your Weakness

When it comes to the holiday season, it can be hard to stay on track with your healthy lifestyle goals. With Thanksgiving last week, and the start of the holiday season, it now becomes important to get back on track. Many of you know, the reason I started Mighty Goal Monday is to help you create & maintain a healthy lifestyle through small weekly goals. This week is no different, except this time you pick the goal based on your weakness.

This week I challenge you to find your weakness and work towards improving it. 

Find your Weakness 

This can really be anything. Have you recently realized you don’t remember the last time you had a vegetable? Or a fruit? When was the last time you drank enough water? I want you to identify ONE weakness you have when it comes to creating & maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Improve your Weakness

After you have found your weakness, I want you to brainstorm how you can improve on it. Set a goal that is realistic and something that can be achievable during the week. Set yourself up for success as we get back into our normal routine after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Need some ideas?

Not sure what your weakness might be? Check out some previous Mighty Goal Monday posts. Not only can they give you an idea but they can also give you great tips on how to help you improve upon them!

Adding Vegetables Into your Diet 

Increasing your Fruit Intake 

Eating a Balanced Meal 

Increase your Water Intake 

Get Active 

Make Time for Lunch 

Explore your Cooking Skills 

Achieving Optimal Sleep 

Choose the Best Option 

Whatever you choose to focus on this week. Do your best and remember how one little improvement in your lifestyle can make a positive impact on the rest of your life.

Share your #mightygoalmonday accomplishments and tips