Written by Megan Ayala. Last Updated: July 22, 2022
Whether your goal is to build strength, lose weight, perform at your peak or boost your overall health, having an accurate food log of what you drink and eat is crucial.
It offers useful insight into your nutrition habits to help you see trends and make necessary adjustments.
Sometimes, folks avoid tracking their food intake often because they’re worried it’ll consume too much time and energy.
However, MyFitnessPal comprises a range of tools that make it easy to log your food intake and track weight loss in only 15 minutes or less per day.
How Do You Track Your Food Using MyFitnessPal?
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to track your food using the MyFitnessPal app.
STEP 1: IDENTIFY THE AMOUNT TO EAT
For starters, you’ll need to figure out the daily calorie intake that seems realistic for you and your goals. This will help you have a clear plan for every day.
Fortunately, the MyFitnessPal app (read review) generally makes it easy for its users by doing these calculations for them. The app uses factors such as your weight, height, activity level, gender, goals, and age to estimate your intended daily calorie intake.
Next, you might need to break down your calories into these three macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. (Although alcohol is technically its macronutrient, you don’t have to put aside any macros for it since it’s not a nutrient that we require to survive.) While MyFitnessPal usually sets your macros to 50% carbs, 30% fat, and 20% protein, different ratios might be more realistic depending on your goals.
When you identify how much to take in, you can figure out how you’d like to split that up all through the day — either in three meals, four meals, and so on — and which foods you’ll ingest to make up those macros and/or calories.
Perhaps you aren’t sure where to begin? Consider MyFitnessPal Plans, which are specifically designed for various nutrition goals, including eating a high-protein diet. It can also help to make the transition to eating healthier much easier.
STEP 2: TRY SEARCHING FOR THE FOODS YOU’RE HAVING
With 14+ million foods, MyFitnessPal’s food database assists you to locate the foods you eat at every meal so you could include them in your food log.
This is much easier than it sounds since the app features the largest database of foods worldwide. Better yet, it’s ever-expanding to ensure its users can easily journal whatever they want to consume.
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You have several options for locating foods within the database. Once you open the app, click the plus sign at your screen’s bottom. Next, choose the food icon and the specific meal you’d like to log in. From there, you could utilize:
Food Search: Just type the name of that food you want into the search bar. You’ll automatically see a long list of foods appear. Pick the food that will most suitably match what you’re eating. It’s also worth mentioning that whenever possible, select foods that come with a green checkmark next to them.
It indicates that the MyFitnessPal team has verified the nutrition information as accurate.
- Barcode Scanner
Maybe you’re eating packaged food? Use your device’s camera to scan the barcode on that package. If it already exists in the MyFitnessPal database (and this is highly likely) the entry will be pulled up on your screen.
And if it’s not, you’ll get the option to input the nutrition info yourself in a new entry.
You can also find this new entry via the barcode scanner, food search, or your My Foods list in the future. That means you won’t need to input all the data again.
- Recipe Discovery
Perhaps you’re seeking healthy recipe inspiration?
If so, recipe discovery is the best starting place. Search and log many different recipes, from low-carb to high-protein. You could also save numerous recipes from anywhere on the internet (e.g., the MyFitnessPal blog) without needing to manually enter each ingredient.
Alternatively, you can use this tool to calculate any recipe’s nutrition information.
- Meal Scan
Are you a MyFitnessPal Premium member with iOS? Then, you’ll have the choice to apply the new Meal Scan feature. It enables you to take a pic of your food to help you locate it in the database much faster — no typing needed.
STEP 3: RECORD THE FOOD AMOUNTS
You’ll also need to log the actual amount of each food you’re consuming. There are a few different ways you could record the food amounts and ensure a more accurate food log.
One simple way to measure how much you’re ingesting is by using volume measurements such as cups, teaspoons, tablespoons, etc.
In general, volume measurements are often less accurate compared to weight measurements (1 cup of chopped nuts vs. 1 cup of whole nuts can be largely different weights and, therefore, much different caloric values).
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However, they’re easier to apply.
Weight is the most accurate method of tracking your food. Mostly, this is done in ounces or grams with the assistance of a food scale. Measuring the weight of fruits and veggies might not be necessary.
However, this approach can help ascertain you get the right amounts of more calorie-dense foods, such as oils, pasta, nut butter, etc.
According to packaging: When it comes to some packaged foods, you may find the database covers information based on the actual packaging. For example, 1 container of yogurt, 1 string cheese, or 1 packet of crackers.
How to Make Tracking Easy on MyFitnessPal
Tracking calories can be frustrating to start with. Nonetheless, it’s an invaluable tool if you’re looking to make progress.
So, below are a few tips to make tracking much easier for you.
- Use the Landscape Mode on your Phone to See Nutritional Facts
While you can check out a particular item’s nutritional facts by clicking on it in your food journal, you can also view this info by simply flipping your device into landscape mode. Calories, protein, carbs, fat, sugars, and sodium will come up to the right of that food item.
- Set reminders
It can be super helpful to set up reminders to record your food or to prompt you to ingest that pre-workout snack.
Once you open MyFitnessPal, click on “More” at the bottom-right, and then tap “Reminders.” You can view your default reminders for all your meals, as well as your present weight. Would you prefer to change the time you usually get reminded for a meal? Just tap on the meal.
- Use to forward plan
Instead of logging as you go, why wouldn’t you try utilizing MFP as a planning tool?
Input your meals for the next several days. Although you don’t have to enter in all meals and snacks, it can help you to observe what calories are left once you input prepped meals.
- Utilize the “My Meals” function – MFP
It can be super helpful to take advantage of the “my meals” tool on MyFitnessPal.
- Apply recipe importer MFP
Utilizing the recipe importer is also a great time-saving tip when it comes to streamlining your tracking. Don’t forget that you should use MFP to PLAN, and not just track.
- Take advantage of your friend’s diary!
You could copy your friend’s meals across to your food log to save you the hassle and the time entering every ingredient.
MyFitnessPal is an effective tool for tracking your calorie intake, as well as micro and macronutrients. Generally, it also ensures you’re eating a healthy and balanced diet. We’ve created the above quick guide to help you use MFP to its maximum potential.