The easy path is to use an app. It’ll count and it’ll document for you, but there’s another feeling to doing it by hand and it might just be more to learn from it. But they’ve got different pros and cons, if you just want it to be done – I recommend using an app.
The more old-school way is to manually document by hand. Then it’ll be up to you – how much do you like counting? What do you want to document? How thorough with what do you prefer to be? Step one is to actually eat and document that you did eat and the steps go all the way up to counting every single macro- and micro nutrient.
For most people, I recommend a quite relaxed level if they’re doing it manually – but still implement some counting, since it’s a useful skill to have and a great thing to have a hunch about later. It doesn’t have to be done forever, but if you’ve never done it before it might be educative. Then, when you’ve done it for a while, you’ll be able to quit using a pen and paper or an app – and just sum things up in a couple of seconds, at least well enough. It’s rarely necessary to count every single gram.
In the PDF below I’ve added what I think are good ideas to journal if you want to keep track of what you’re eating, but what you add to the diary depends on why you’re doing it. What’s interesting might vary from person to person.
At what time did you eat?
Where did you eat?
How did you feel before/during/just after eating?
How hungry were you when you started eating?
What did you get to eat? Document what dish it was and perhaps in broad strokes what it contained of.
What amount? A decent hunch of weight – or perhaps even weigh the food.
What nutrients did we get there? Count how much carbs/protein/fat that sums up to. Applications are easy, since it’s mostly math. The nutrition facts label contains more than you’ll need for this relaxed approach. It’ll tell you how much of the “macro nutrients” there are in the product. If the product lack information, google it. It’ll likely take you about four seconds to find more or less the right thing.The label for milk could say that it’ll give you 60 kcal. 3,3 g protein, 5 g carbs and 3g fat per 100 ml. If you know that you drank a couple of dl, you’ll have to multiply by 2. If you drank a liter, multiply by ten. Used 50 ml for your scrambled eggs? 100 ml x 0.5 = 50.If you don’t really love counting, don’t bother counting the stuff with minimal effect on the numbers we tend to here, such as herbs, spices or even vegetables.
How full were you afterwards? Scale of 0-5 where 5 would be you feeling pregnant and 1 is practically still hungry.
At the end of the day, summarize the intake of the day by adding all the meals together.