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If you’ve made the decision to take your health to the next level and start tracking your food, I applaud you! This can be a very scary and overwhelming thought for most people. But I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be! Tracking your food can be tedious at first, but I promise that it gets so much easier over time! Plus when you actually take the time to track your food accurately, you might be surprised at exactly how much (or how little) you were really eating! So let me make this entire process 1000x easier for you and teach you how to accurately track your food intake.
Use an App/Website
I know it might sound easier to just write everything down on paper, but to be honest, this method ends up being a thousand times harder. By using a food tracking app or website, it will do all of the math for you, plus they usually contain databases of pretty much every food out there. I highly recommend the free app called MyFitnessPal, which can be used on a phone or desktop. However I’ve also had a lot of luck with the My Macros+ app. You can also use the popular app called Lose It, however it doesn’t let you change your macronutrient goals at all without paying for premium.
New to MyFitness Pal? Read this: How to Track your Food Intake Using MyFitnessPal
If you’re not weighing your food, then there’s no way you are accurately logging your food intake. If you’r
e just starting out, you can probably get away with estimating things, or using measuring cups/spoons. But if you’re ready to take your diet to the next level, it’s time to invest in a food scale.
Make sure you weigh everything. Don’t just log “red apple”, instead measure out your apple in grams on a food scale and then log that. Also make sure to log spreads and condiments as well. Things like butter, peanut butter, and syrup add up fast. My trick to easily weighing out peanut butter is to put the jar of peanut butter on your scale and “zero” it. Then scoop out your serving of peanut butter. It will say something like “-20 grams”. This means that you are eating a 20g serving. This is so much easier then trying to weigh it while spreading it on your bagel.
Also make sure to measure your food how you are eating it. For example if you are weighing strawberries, weigh them after you have cut off the stems. If you aren’t eating part of it, you don’t want to include it in your log.
Try this – Look for a scale that can switch to different units (especially ounces and grams), plus one that can “zero/tare”. I personally love this food scale HERE.
Measure Food Raw
Always make sure to measure your food raw when possible. This applies to meat/seafood, pasta, rice, and really anything that can change weight once cooked. Foods like pasta and rice always absorb water while cooking, which means they weigh more after cooking. Foods like meat always weigh different after being cooked because they lose water. You’ll notice that a well done chicken breast weighs less than a slightly done chicken breast. Plus almost all food labels are listed for the raw food.
If you must weigh something after cooking, try to log it that way. So instead of searching for “boneless, skinless chicken breast” you’d have to search for “grilled chicken breast” and log it that way.
Break Down Meals
In order to really be as accurate as possible when logging your food, try to break down your meals and log each item individually. So instead of logging “turkey sandwich” try logging the turkey, bread, lettuce, cheese, and any other toppings separately. Everybody makes meals differently, so you want to make sure you log it the way that you ate it.
This also applies to recipes. Most food tracking apps will allow you to create your own recipes and log them. This means instead of just searching for “stuffed peppers” and hoping the entry you pick is the same as what you ate, you can actually create your own recipe. This means you would enter in every ingredient you used, and then tell the app how many servings it made. Then you can easily log however many servings you ate. This is what I use to log my meal preps every week!
Other Tips & Tricks
- A lot of food tracking apps these days contain foods from many popular restaurants. So always search by restaurant when possible
- Always make sure to log the exact brand of food you consumed. So instead of just searching”cheddar cheese”, type in the actual brand name for the most accurate entry
- Always double check the food entries when possible. A lot of apps allow users to enter and create their own foods. While this can be great, it also leaves some room for error. So when scanning a barcode or searching for an item, always double check that the entry matches the food label of the product
- Make sure to save some of your frequently consumed meals for easier re-logging the next time you eat it
- Consuming alcohol? Check out my blog post on How to Calculate Macros for Alcohol
If you can follow all of these tips then you can rest assured that you are being very accurate with your food logging! Now that you’ve become a master of logging your food, why not take it another step further and try counting your macros? Check out my 14 day online courses to becoming a macro tracking pro HERE.