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Healthy Eating Jump-Start Day 16: Track your calories


Have you made a resolution to eat better and lose weight? Follow our month-long program of daily nutrition tips, created by dietitian Leslie Beck to change your lifestyle for January - and beyond. And to get your fitness on track, try our personal trainer-designed Boot Camp 2012 program .

DAY 16: Track your calories

Do you know how many calories you consume each day? Or how many calories it takes to maintain your weight? Most people have no idea. And research shows that many of us forget what we eat during the day and, as a result, tend to underestimate our calorie intake by as much as 25 per cent. Instead, we tend to figure out if we're overdoing it by how our clothes fit.

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Whether you want to lose weight or prevent the so-called middle-age spread, knowing your daily calorie intake is key. Your homework for today: Write down every calorie that passes your lips. This exercise is intended to provide awareness. What you ultimately do with the data is up to you.

To track your daily calorie intake, read nutrition labels on the packaged foods you eat (even condiments) and note the calories for each serving. If you eat more than the stated serving size, increase your calories accordingly. If you're eating a meal at a restaurant – or a snack at a coffee shop – check to see whether calories are posted online. You can determine the calorie content of most other foods online (check out

Want more information related to today's tip? Read on:

Fact or fallacy? 10 weight loss myths

Missed earlier days? It's easy to get caught up.

DAY 15: Ban sugary drinks

DAY 14: Eat an orange vegetable

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DAY 13: Add ground flaxseed to your diet

DAY 12: Eat one vegetarian meal

DAY 11: Pass on the salt

DAY 10: Plan next week's meals in advance

DAY 9: Eat a leafy green vegetable

DAY 8: Drink a cup of green tea

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DAY 7: Snack on fruit

DAY 6: Use a smaller plate

DAY 5: Eat more veggies

DAY 4: Practise eating slowly

DAY 3: Boost fibre at breakfast

DAY 2: Drink a large glass of water before each meal

DAY 1: Keep a food diary for the next seven days

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