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Some ADAPT participants may be asked to complete a food record.  If you have received an email about completing a food record, please review the instructions below.


Understanding what you eat is one of the most important parts of the study. You have been asked to complete a 3-day food record on the days specified in the email you received.  We suggest that you please review the instructions below before you start recording your meals.  Reviewing the instructions will help us gather the most detailed and accurate information on what you are eating.  We thank you very much for your time and dedication to the ADAPT Study!




  • Please write down everything you eat and drink each day from midnight to midnight. Please do not alter your eating habits.
  • We understand that you may already use another way, such as an app, to track your diet and/or exercise. For the purpose of this study, to ensure all participants are reporting their diet consistently, we ask that for the 3 days specified in the email you received,  you please use the electronic food record created for this study. At the end of the study, we will welcome your feedback on this tool.
  • All eating occasions should be recorded. This should be done during or shortly after each eating occasion. This includes meals, snacks, coffee, breaks, food eaten on the go, and dietary supplements.
  • Indicate if the food was raw or cooked.  If cooked, was it baked, broiled, fried, steamed, boiled, or microwaved.
  • For meats, indicate if fat was trimmed; for chicken, indicate if skin was removed.
  • List brand names and any special version of the product, such as low sodium, low fat, or light.
  • Whenever possible, please provide recipes or nutrition labels.  There will be a place to upload these.  If your recipe is online, you can provide a link.  If your recipe is written down or in a book, you can take a picture and upload the picture. Please note that this questionnaire will allow for one file upload per upload box. If you need to upload more than one file in a specific box, you can email additional files to


Don’t forget these commonly forgotten foods:

  • Beverages, including water, alcoholic beverages, coffee, and tea
  • Additions to beverages: sugar, artificial sweeteners, creamer
  • Additions to foods: sauces, salt, pepper, sugar/sweeteners
  • Hard candies, mints, gum
  • Foods eaten in the car or on public transportation
  • Foods eaten at work or school functions


Tips for a successful 3-day diet record:

  • If you can, keep your food record questionnaire open on your smart phone
  • Keep receipts from food purchased away from home to help you remember (coffee runs, happy hour) if you cannot record an eating occasion right away
  • Use a bottle with ounces marked on the side for easy recording of fluids
  • Portion out foods like pasta, soup, or cereal with a measuring cup to make food amounts easier to record


Suggested guidelines for recording portion sizes:

  • When you record a portion size, please specify if portion refers to cooked or uncooked
  • Use ounces or dimensions (ie. 4” x 2” x ½” or 3” diameter) for:
    • Meat (indicate cut—tenderloin, chuck, etc)
    • Fish (indicate type—sole, salmon, etc)
    • Chicken (indicate piece—breast, thigh, etc)
    • Cheese (indicate type and brand)
    • Tofu
    • Pizza, pie (ie. 1/6th of 8” diameter)
    • Cake, brownies, pastries
  • Specify how many and whether small, medium, or large (ideally, provide dimensions if possible) for:
    • Rolls, biscuits
    • Tortillas
    • Bread
    • Fresh, whole fruit
    • Cookies
    • Crackers
    • Note: For round items such as rolls, biscuits, and whole fruit, it can be helpful to estimate in relation to the size of a fist if you are unable to measure the exact dimensions.


Tips for estimating portion sizes:

  • 1 oz of cheese=4 dice or 1 domino
  • 1 tsp of butter= 1 die
  • 3 oz meat/poultry/fish=1 deck of cards
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter= 1 ping pong ball
  • 1 oz chocolate=pack of dental floss
  • 1 cup= baseball or size of fist


Use measuring cups for:

  • Pasta, rice, noodles, potatoes, beans
  • Cooked or raw vegetables; sliced or canned fruit
  • Ice cream, yogurt, sour cream, pudding, Jello
  • Beverages


Use teaspoons or tablespoons for:

  • Butter, margarine, oil (don’t forget to record what is used in cooking)
  • Sauces, gravy, salad dressing
  • Jelly, peanut butter, syrup, creamer, sugar
  • Ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise


What about mixed dishes?

Mixed dishes can be listed with all ingredients in the same text entry box—please remember, if you have a recipe, you can upload it to save time! If you upload a recipe, you can use the text box for that meal item to indicate if you made any substitutions or alterations to the recipe. Also, please be sure to note how many servings the recipe makes (the food record will prompt you to record this) and how many servings you ate (this is prompted, as well).

Below is an example:


Note: If you made the salad dressing at home, we would ask you to specify how. For example, 1/3 cup Kirkland aged balsamic vinegar, 1/3 cup Filippo Berio virgin olive oil, dash of salt, dash of pepper



How do I record a homemade recipe, if I don’t have a link or picture of the recipe to upload?

Below is an example:

If you ate ¼ of the recipe, you would report eating 2 cups. If you ate ½ of the recipe, you would reporting eating 4 cups.


How do I record if I have eaten out?

For any chain or fast food restaurants, record the name of the restaurant where prompted.  You will then be provided with a text box to record the item you ordered, size, and any additions or substitutions.

Example 1:


Example 2:


For conventional restaurants, include the description of the food and any additions (ie. sauces, gravies, condiments).

Restaurant name: Jan’s Diner (Boston, MA)

Below is an example:


Below is a list of common foods, along with a list of details that you will want to remember to record (if they apply)

Food Specification
Beer: brand, type, light, regular
Bread: brand, type (grains), additions
Butter, Margarine: brand, tube, stick, squeeze, whipped, regular, light, fortified
Candy: brand, type, sugar-free
Canned fish: brand, type, water or oil packed, drained or rinsed
Cereal: type, brand, additions, left-over milk
Cheese: brand, type, processed, fat
Chips: brand, type, baked, additions, flavors
Cocktail: name, ingredients, type of mixer, ice
Coffee, Tea: regular, diet, decaf, brewed, instant
Cottage cheese: brand, type, %fat, flavored, fruit toppings
Crackers: brand, type, grain, additions
Creamer: dairy or non-dairy, flavored, fat content, sugar added
Doughnut, Sweet roll: brand, yeast or cake, frosting, glaze, filling, bakery
Dresssings: type, brand, fat, creamy
Egg substitute: brand, additions
Eggs: preparation (fat), additions, size, fortification (omega 3s, etc)
French Fries: type, cooking method, fat, skin
Fruit: fresh, canned (syrup?), frozen, dried, sweetened, size, skin eaten?
Fruit drink: 100% fruit juice, drink, brand, type, fortified
Mayo: brand, type, fat, real or mayo-like
Meat: type, cut, piece, fat and skin trimmed or eaten, bones, prep (fat, breaded, cooking methods), additions (sauce, gravy), type and %fat for ground beef
Milk: % fat, flavored, soy, fortified, plant-based
Oil: brand, type
Pancake, waffle: type, brand, mix vs. from scratch, prep (fat such as butter), whole grain, additions
Popcorn: brand, type, fat, additions
Potato: prep (fat), additions, skin eaten
Soda: regular, diet, decaf, brand, ice
Sports or energy drink: brand, type, sugar free, ice
Tortilla: corn, flour, whole wheat, fried (fat)
Vegetables: fresh, canned, frozen, raw, cooked, prep (fat, cooking method), brands of commercial frozen mixture
Water: brand, type flavored, fortified
Wine: dinner, dessert, type, red, white, rose
Yogurt: %fat, flavored, brand, fortified


Below is a list of meals/mixed dishes, along with details that you will want to remember to record

Mixed dishes: scratch, commercial mix, deli, takeout, main ingredients, toppings, additions, cooking methods. If prepared at home, please provide recipe.
Soups: type, brand, home-made or ready-to-serve, take-out, creamy, chunky, salt/fat
Salads: ingredients, toppings, dressings
Pizza: type, home-made or take-out, brand, thick or thin crust, toppings
Sandwich: type of bread, fillings, spreads, home-made or take-out
Fast food: name of restaurant, name of item, size


A note on dietary supplements

Dietary supplements are important to record in your food record but commonly forgotten!

Please remember to record any vitamins, minerals, fiber, antacids, herbals oils (fish, flax), amino acids, botanicals, etc., as well as brand names and amounts/doses taken.


Helpful abbreviations

  • teaspoon=tsp
  • tablespoon=tbsp
  • fluid ounces=fl oz
  • ounces=oz
  • grams=g
  • cups=C
  • slice=sl


Helpful conversions

  • 1 tablespoon=3 teaspoons
  • 1 cup=8 fl oz
  • 2 tablespoons=1 fl oz