If you are new around here, you might not know much about macros – and that's ok! My goal is to break seemingly complex ideas and lingo down into something anyone can understand.
First up – my good friend MyFitnessPal (MFP). This is a free app and if you haven't downloaded it, head to the app store right now and get ‘er done.
I will wait.
You back? Ok, good. Now you have one of the handiest tools for tracking your macros downloaded on to your phone. As much as MFP promotes the Premium version, you do not have to purchase it to be able to track your macros. In the future you may want to upgrade (I have) but the free version works just fine for now.
There is a little bit of a learning curve with MFP, and it is going to take you just using the app to get more comfortable with it, but today I am sharing 5 tricks that will help you become a MFP guru:
One of the biggest mistakes people make at first is not selecting accurate MFP entries. Let me make one thing really clear: not all MFP entries are accurate. For better or for worse MFP allows people to add foods to it's database which means a lot of the foods you search for will be wrong.
Don't panic. There is a solution. Tack the term “USDA” to the end of your search. This will bring up foods that were entered off of the US Department of Agriculture meaning they have a much higher chance of being accurate.
Use this trick if you are searching for any non-packaged animal or plant product. For example, I would search “skinless chicken breast, raw, USDA” or “fuji apple, USDA” or “baby carrots, USDA.” These entries usually come up with the option to enter your servings in grams which is how you should be weighing all your food.
If you are entering each of your foods in separately and
are coming back to the database after each entry you are wasting time! The multi-add feature allows you to add multiple foods from your favorites lists and search results all at once. It really makes logging your food for a meal much faster and easier.
To enter Multi-add mode, go to Settings –> Diary Settings –> and toggle the slider for “use multi-add by default.” Then when searching for foods a filled in bubble will appear next to each food you have added. Mark as many items as you'd like to add, then tap the Add button, and all of the items you've checked will be added to your diary at once.
This isn't specifically a MFP tip, but it sure is a helpful one when you want to weigh out food like peanut butter without dirtying 5,000 dishes. When measuring something out of a jar (like peanut butter, pickles, nutella, protein powder), place the whole jar on the scale, zero out the scale, then take the amount out you want. The scale will now display a negative number; forget the negative sign and log that amount in MFP.
I have a whole tutorial about how to enter and track a homemade recipe on MFP on my Instagram Story Highlights. That is really helpful for those homemade casseroles and the pancakes you make for your family. But what about those lunches that you make for yourself that aren't really a recipe, but are just some foods that you frequently eat together? For example, maybe you make my Greek Yogurt Chocolate pudding with fruit for snack every afternoon (if you haven't tried it you should – 1 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt + 10 g of sugar-free, fat-free chocolate Jello pudding powder, mix and thin with water to your liking). In this case, saving those foods as a Meal lets you easily add them to your diary as a group.
In my example, you could create a Meal called “Chocolate Protein Pudding” consisting of Greek yogurt, pudding powder, and the strawberries you throw on top. You could then add this as a group, instantly, instead of adding each item separately.
To create a Meal, just go to the same place you enter food and click the Meals tab. Click “Create a Meal” and enter the components of the meal and save. One of the great benefits to creating a meal rather than a recipe is that when the meal is logged each of the components still shows up individually in your diary. Meaning if you used 120 g of strawberries instead of only 60 g this time making your Protein Pudding you can log the meal and just adjust that one component without having to redo the whole recipe.
It still floors me how many people don't know this last really simple game-changing tip. Turn your phone sideways to landscape while viewing your diary in MFP; you'll be able to see the macro breakdown for each meal as well as your total breakdown for the day by scrolling to the bottom of the screen.
I sure hope these tips and trick were helpful and that even if you are a seasoned tracker you learned something new! Hit “reply” and tell me which one was new for you or if you have a tip that I missed that everyone should know about!