More Tips for Food Logging

  • 3 Minutes Read
  • Jun 2, 2015

How accurate is your food log? This post will focus on some common issues that affect food tracking accuracy.

More Tips for Food Logging

People track their food intake to help them control their weight control, blood glucose, enhance sports performance, and for other health goals. But how accurate is your food log? This post will focus on some common issues that affect food tracking accuracy.

Basic vs. Brand Foods

Learn how to use keywords to search for basic vs. brand food items. MyNetDiary's food database includes the USDA's National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference - this large database contains extended nutrient data for pretty much all basic foods consumed in the United States. Whereas brand foods typically list nutrient data for just the twelve nutrients required on the food label. If you are tracking extended nutrients (possible with Premium membership), then try to log basic foods as much as possible. Basic foods would be unprocessed foods from all food groups. Visit the USDA database to learn how items are named - sometimes the naming convention is very detailed. If you consume processed packaged foods, then log the brand food since it will best account for calories, and nutrients from added ingredients (e.g. fat, sodium, and sugar).

Use the Barcode Scanner

While in the meal screen, the easiest way to find a processed packaged food is to use the barcode scanner (find the icon on the bottom of the meal screen). If the barcode scan does not bring up an item, then you can use PhotoFood Service to enter it as a new custom food.

If you find an error in a barcode scanned food, you can tap "Update" to access PhotoFood Service for correction. This allows you to send photos of the food label so that MyNetDiary can update the food item. Food companies and restaurants update nutrient content of their items regularly - MyNetDiary appreciates and relies upon members to alert them to needed updates.

Tip: If your barcode scanner is acting up, be sure your phone's operating system is updated, and then be sure to update to the latest MyNetDiary app version.

PhotoFood Service

Use PhotoFood Service to enter a new custom food, as well as to request a correction to an existing food item found via barcode scanning. The system guides you on how to do this - and the photos of the food label you take are automatically sent to MyNetDiary. New food item entries as well as existing food item updates are completed within 24 hours.

Hide "Contributed" Foods

To increase the accuracy of food items available for selection, you can choose to hide "contributed" food items via Settings (or Account tab on website). "Contributed" food items are those manually entered by other people (and not checked by anyone else). Diabetes Tracker automatically hides "contributed" food items for this reason. Contributed foods are not the same as custom food items entered by PhotoFood Service - those are completed and reviewed by MyNetDiary staff and are considered system-entered foods that everyone can use and enjoy.

Note that MyNetDiary's identification and ability to hide "contributed" items is a real gift in terms of avoiding error from sloppy data entry from other members. This is not a common feature with other trackers.

Log The Right Amount of the Right Food

There are often many versions of a basic food - raw, boiled, roasted, baked, etc. If you eat something cooked, log the final weight of the cooked version consumed. If there isn't a cooked version of what you are eating, then log the starting weight of the raw food item before cooking. For frozen entrees, just log the item as is. For toast vs. bread -simply log the number of bread slices consumed for commercially sliced and packaged bread. If the bread is hand sliced, then weigh the slice instead of guessing. And yes, it is a good idea to buy an inexpensive digital kitchen scale for accurate food logging, especially when portion size is hard to measure by other means. Also, use real measuring spoons and measuring cups for measuring volume - they are inexpensive and more accurate than guessing. Learn more by reading Measuring and Estimating Portion Size.

Tip: some food items will not provide a serving size option that you wish to enter. Most system-entered foods give you multiple options, but many restaurant foods do not. Do the best that you can given the serving size descriptions available.

Eat the Same Foods Regularly?

Within the Meal Screen, use the triple bar icon in your app to access the "Copy from Day" option. This is a huge timesaver and will help you find the food item you have logged before. You can copy food items from other days and meals to your current meal.

Check Food Report for Food Entry Errors

Checking the day's detailed Food Report is an important way to spot check for errors. Reports include full food item names - so you can easily identify incorrect food items logged (e.g. canned tomato in your salad vs. raw tomato). From the Meals screen in your app, tap the icon with four row bars to access the day's Food Report.

Deleting Your Custom Foods Forever

Login to the web program, tap "Food" tab, tap "My Foods," checkbox "Custom Foods Only," tap "show foods" of the Food Category that you assigned your custom food to, tap "action" to the right of the food item you wish to delete, and then tap "delete." If you don't remember the Food Category of your custom food item, then try Brands - that is the default category.

For more information about food items, read this webpage and the FAQs as well as the older blog post on food items entitled Tips & Tricks for Entering & Correcting Foods in MyNetDiary. For more information about recipes, stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on tips - but in the meantime, you can read this older post Tips for Entering Your Recipes in MyNetDiary Like a Pro!

Tracking & MyNetDiary->Tracking Tips
Katherine Isacks
Katherine Isacks, MPS, RDN, CDE - Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)

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