food allergy journal food diary kids
Food Allergies

How to Keep a Food Allergy Journal for Kids

A mother asked me about food allergies and eczema. Could an allergy be the culprit causing her child’s eczema to flare up? It’s not something I could know for sure, but I know how she could find out. All she’d need to learn is how to keep a food allergy journal for kids.

She described the rash and we began to discuss his diet and how she thought the breakout might be related to food, but she wasn’t sure if he had any food allergies. After I mentioned milk and eggs being a common trigger, she realized he ate a lot of cheese.

She hadn’t seen an allergist yet, but she wanted advice now. After I told her where to find an allergist. I began to share my experience with food allergies and how dairy caused a flare in eczema in my son. My tip to her was to begin keeping a food allergy journal or a food diary.

In this article, I’ll show you how to keep a food allergy journal without spending too much time. The food diary will give you a document to show to the doctor, so you can narrow down any issues. And though I use this for my son, it’s something you could use for yourself or your children.

food allergy journal for kids food diary

How to Narrow Down a Food Allergy

Allergies are difficult to determine unless you have an immediate reaction. A reaction can occur at any time causing you to miss what triggered the reaction altogether. Because of the difficulty to identify, it isn’t the best idea to change your diet based on a hunch. Random allergy testing on yourself can be dangerous.

The best way to get an idea of what you might be allergic to is to keep a log of any symptoms and record your current daily behavior. The best way to do this is with a food allergy journal or food diary.

How to use a Food Allergy Journal

Use a food allergy journal to find patterns in the way children react to food. To get the most out of a food journal, use it to track new foods your baby tries for the first time. It’s also a great way to keep a record of the food you may suspect is causing reactions in toddlers and big kids.

To get started, write down everything your child eats for 30 to 45 days. A food diary is also a great way to assess your child’s overall nutrition. You’ll be able to see exactly what they ate and you can tell the doctor the next time they ask.

The journal is for more than recording what you eat. The main purpose is to record how you or your child reacts to the food. In the journal, you should record how the child responded to the food and any strange symptoms.

Food Diary Template

Here’s a food diary template and an example of how to keep a food diary. It’s okay to keep notes simple with smiley faces and checkmarks. However, when there are symptoms be as thorough as you can if you think it’s a rash or hives mark them both down and go over the symptoms with your allergist or primary care physician.

food journal example

How to Keep a Food Diary for a Child

Even feelings about the food could be an indicator of an allergy, so don’t forget to record those too. It’s a good time to get to know your child as their personality grows, and they begin to learn what they like and dislike. A bad feeling toward a certain food could be an indicator of something more.

  • Write down if he or she liked the food
  • How they describe the taste (it’s too spicy)
  • Descriptive feelings (my throat feels itchy)
  • Actions that take place (sudden scratching)
  • Physical reactions (rashes, hives, redness)
food diary food allergy journal for kids mood

Added benefits of Keeping a Food Journal

Food diaries for kids can become little keepsakes of a time when your little one loved peas. It may come in handy as they grow up so you can show them there was in fact a time they ate all their vegetables. It’s also a good way to remember what foods have been introduced to little ones who are just beginning solids.

If you already know all you need to know about keeping a journal, you can get yours now.

The Eczema Mama Food Allergy Journal is here!

image of the pages in the eczema mama food allergy journal

Head over to the Eczema Mama Shop to start recording meals, snacks, medicine, vitamins, water, milk, and more.

The Wrong Way to Use a Food Allergy Journal

Remember this food allergy journal is just that, a journal. It should be used for recording first and foremost, this means there’s a few don’ts that you should remember.

Don’t restrict your diet on a hunch

First, it’s important to remember that keeping a food journal isn’t a way to restrict a child’s diet or test for allergies. Don’t use the journal to omit dairy for example. Don’t decide that you will run experiments. Omitting foods without doctors’ approval can lead to missing nutrients that are needed for growth and development.

The journal is for noting how a person reacts to their current diet so that you can make an informed decision about your allergies. You may find that something you hadn’t noticed was the real culprit. It allows you proof when you go to your doctor and an actual road map of how a particular food is affecting your child.

You may see a big indicator before the 30 days are up, that you will want to talk to your doctor about right away. Of course, if there is a serious reaction you will want to respond immediately and seek medical help.

Don’t give yourself allergy tests

Second, now is not a good time to try a new allergen as a test. For example, don’t decide that you will give your child peanut butter for the first time and record how it goes.

Please talk to your doctor first, they will tell if or when to introduce potential allergens. Some doctors will give you the opportunity to test for an allergy when the time is right under their supervision.

Don’t use it as a calorie counter for kids for dieting or weight loss

Finally, the journal is not a calorie counter for kids. This isn’t for putting your toddler on a diet. This is simply a food tracker for kids.

Allow your toddler to eat as they would before the journal. The idea is to take notes. You’re keeping a toddler food tracker to search for signs that would suggest a food allergy. Once you have more information adjust accordingly with help from your doctor or allergist.

food allergy journal for kids food diary

How to Fill out a Food Journal for a Child

For a child, you will have to fill out the journal a bit differently than you would for yourself. Remember children don’t express feelings in the same way adults do.

If an adult is having an allergic reaction they can express it clearly. We can say, “oh no, my throat is itching or closing up, I’m having a reaction.” A child might express it through behavior. They may or may not be able to say my mouth swells when I eat this.

Instead, they might say, “I don’t like this” or “this makes me feel funny.” Read some tips on what a child might say to express they are having an allergic reaction.

How to Fill out a Toddler Food Tracker

Many of you have children who can not talk yet. For a child that can’t talk you may just get a bowl pushed on the floor. Which is something every toddler does, nearly every day. So, no parent would think it’s something to worry about. Using this child nutrition tracker will show you every time your child reacts strangely to a particular food.

The main thing for you to focus on is body language. They will breathe differently or begin to itch. Sudden swelling, redness, or hives will need immediate attention.

If more than one of those reactions happens to occur that is when you should seek medical help. In my case, those symptoms together would show it’s time to use Eli’s epi-pen. You may not have one yet, so, call or get to a doctor right away.

food allergy journal for kids food diary

How to Understand the Results of a Food Journal

When you look back through the journal be careful with reactions. Allergies are tricky and don’t always present themselves at once. A journal gives you the opportunity to notice patterns.

For example, you may begin to notice on days your child eats more dairy they have itchy eczema or hives. These patterns will show on their own and then you can start discussing with your doctor a safe way to stop dairy or get allergy testing done.

The journal can point out what else may be causing a reaction. Eggs and peanuts have a strong reaction for people with eczema as well. You don’t want to stop eating dairy just to find out the real culprit was eggs all along.

Once you Have Completed Your Food Diary

At the end of the journal, it’s time to get allergy testing done if your child is old enough. If not it’s time to talk to your doctor and begin to omit allergenic foods. The point is to take some sort of action if you notice a problem.

What you do not want is to ignore a problem and end up having a serious reaction. When in doubt, I always refer you to talk to your doctor because they have your medical history and can help you finally know for sure if your little one has food allergies.

If talking to a doctor worries you or causes stress, take your journal. Use it so that you have the confidence to show your doctor what you have noticed.

At the end of your journal, you may not find a particular food that is the problem. This can be something that will worry you, but no reaction is a good sign. It still narrows things down.

Don’t feel discouraged if the results turn out differently than you expected. That is why you begin keeping a journal, to find the unexpected. This can signify that the allergen is something other than food. Food is not the only thing that can cause an eczema flare-up or allergic reaction.

food allergy journal for kids food diary

The Hard part of Keeping a Food Journal

I know what your thinking. I don’t have the time.

There has to be a quicker way to figure out what my child is allergic to. Can I just stop giving him dairy and wait to see what happens?

You could try that, but you could miss out on finding out a deeper problem. I get that it’s time-consuming and if you are a parent you already have limited time. However, you can journal in a way that will not interfere with the little time you have in your day.

Keeping this journal is a way for allergy parents to be resourceful and find a way to make it work. I want to help you figure out your child’s allergies in a safe, and realistic way. Using a journal can be difficult, but in 30 days if you discover that the milk in the Pedialyte was causing your baby to get a rash, you will be so grateful to know not to use it again.

In the long run, it will save you time. You can begin to plan around food allergies and tackle the reactions once and for all.

How to Fill out a Food Allergy Journal Quickly

fill out a food allergy journal quickly for kids food diary

Here are realistic ways to journal and cut down on time.

Jot down major concerns right away wherever you can.

You can record them into the journal in detail later or at a specific time you set aside for filling out the journal

Follow a meal plan

If you already know what you have planned out for your son or daughter to eat every day you can fill out the food portion of the journal early and add in the reactions at the end of the day. For inspiration check out some of our meal ideas.

Make your food in bulk

Take meal planning a step further. Most of you have little ones who are still getting a handle on food. You can make food in bulk for the week and write down everything they’ll be having. You can write in servings and reactions every day at a time you specify.

Get a menu from school

If your child goes to daycare or school you can get a menu of what is going to be given out at lunch. Schools tend to stick to a schedule. Many schools will understand and accommodate you especially if you explain your child may have an allergy. They don’t want an allergic reaction happening on their watch any more than you do. Add the menu to the journal and record anything you notice at the end of the night.

Make an activity of it at dinner time

If you sit your little one down for dinner, bring the journal with you. Ask them how they are feeling and write it down then. just a quick one-word code works as long as you understand. It doesn’t need to be a long journal entry, be as detailed as you can in a few descriptive words. For example: itchy, red, no reaction.

Create your own code

This journal is for you to understand. Code it so that it makes sense. Save yourself a key so that you always know what it means. For example a little smiley face for happy or a capital letter B for Breakfast. The same goes for servings write 1 serving if that makes you happy or 1 cup.

Fill out all dates and meals right away

You can write out the days of the week or month ahead of time. That way you are just flipping to the corresponding date not taking the time every day to fill that in. You can do the same with meals, there will always be breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you know meal times you can fill those in too. You can change them if needed, it’s okay to cross things out.

free food allergy journal

To save you even more time I have created a food journal example for you. It’s free and it will give you the chance to see if keeping a journal will work for you. It’s a colorful printout that you can also fill in digitally if that would work better for you.

The most common symptoms are already listed and ready for you to check off. If there are other symptoms you can fill those in as well. If you’d like you can cross them out and change the key to something that’s more common for you. The idea is to save you time so you can make one mark to file a symptom.

Put in your email in the box below and I will send it to you today.


A food allergy journal is something that can help you find out if your child has a food allergy. Use it to keep track of meals, reactions, and the mood of your toddler. This is something you can do for yourself as well. Use the tips above to make it a quick and simple task that can change your life for the better.

Any journal can be tailored to your needs. Make it work how you can. I know that keeping a food journal can be a difficult task. But give it a try and let me know how it works for you. Get your free sample journal and start today. You can print out the page or fill it out on your device to get an idea of how using a journal can fit into your lifestyle.

How will you change your journal to fit your lifestyle? Have you kept a food or allergy journal before? Do you have tips for the best way to journal? Let me know in the comments below.

Lydia Knox is a mother of two boys with eczema. After facing severe eczema for the first time she dedicated herself to tackling the problem. She now uses her knowledge to help parents navigate raising children with severe eczema and food allergies. Lydia found a way to combine motherhood and her love of marketing into her business, Lydia Knox Creates. There she is able to work with parents and small businesses creating educational and entertaining content. You can read more about parenting here on Eczema Mama and see more of her work on


  • Zaneta The Work At Home Mama

    This is genius! I discovered when my daughter was a baby, she had an dairy allergy and I had to stop eating any foods with dairy while I was still breastfeeding her. I wish I had used a journal during that time to document everything so thank you for sharing this!

  • spoonie-mama

    These are some great tips! My sister in law has some big allergies so I know that its possible for my children to have them as well. I will keep these in mind.

  • Bethany Rutledge

    Interesting. My baby has eczema and hadn’t thought all this through yet. Thanks

  • Nikki

    Allergies can be so pesky! These are great and necessary tips for tracking food allergies for the kiddos.

  • Nadia Harris

    Hi! Thanks for the tips! Would be great if you can email me the food journal example.


    • Lydia Knox

      Sure nadia, but if you enter your email in the box above the journal is already on it’s way.

  • Jennifer Gerard

    Could you kindly please send us the template for the food diary?

    • Lydia Knox

      Sure Jennifer send me a message on the comment page or email me your address so that I can send you a copy. If you already entered your email address above the copy should already be in your inbox.

  • Sarah

    Thank you for the great ideas. Will you pls email me the free food allergy tracker?
    Thank you

  • Lydia Knox

    So I’ve sent the journal out every one. Email me or leave a message on the contact page if you still haven’t gotten it. If you’re on the google AMP page the box for the sign up isn’t there.

    If you’re on a mobile web browser, tablet, computer, or getting the regular web page you should be able to enter your email and the pdf will be sent straight to you. I’ll be getting rid of the Amp page soon, so none of this will matter and signing up will be as easy as 1,2,3. But if you need more help feel free to contact me.



  • Czarina Relova-Marcelo

    Hi. I’m definitely gonna follow this. My son has had eczema since he was born. A few weeks ago he had an extreme allergic reaction to a pasta sauce with cashew butter. I didn’t think he would have an allergy to it since no one in our immediate family have an allergy to nuts. Anyway, long story short, we got him tested and found out he is allergic to tree nuts. And although I gave him Hazelnuts before aka Nutella , he had no extreme reaction but has always been itchy right after. I blame the itch from his eczema. Now that we have his results, I now understand that his itch is because of his allergies to tree nuts. I didn’t really want to believe that my son has allergies until I got the results today. Now, I really should keep a food journal to observe what he eats. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *