Tips for entering, editing, and sharing recipes in MyNetDiary

  • 12 Minutes Read
Katherine Isacks
Katherine Isacks, MPS, RDN Registered Dietitian

Get the most out of using MyNetDiary's recipe feature - learn how to enter, edit, and share your recipes like a pro! These tips are helpful for new and experienced users alike. Read this post even if you think you know how to enter recipes.

If you cook a lot of recipes from scratch, then it is time to learn how to enter, edit, and share recipes in MyNetDiary. Entering your recipes will improve the accuracy of calories and nutrient intake. It will also allow you to create a personalized recipe database that includes recipe steps, photos, and print options. All of your customized recipes can be shared with your family members, other MyNetDiary users and people who do not use a calorie tracker. If you use the iPhone or iPad app, you can easily add recipe ingredients to MyNetDiary's Shopping List.

Let's go through each step together, starting with entering a new recipe from scratch and ending with steps for sharing recipes.

New Recipe Entry

The fastest and easiest way to enter an existing recipe, if it is available on the web, is to use the Recipe Import tool on the Me tab in the mobile apps.

There, you can browse to the recipe web page, then tap the Import button and follow the steps. Please see Import Recipes to Your MyNetDiary Account article for more details.

Otherwise, you can enter the recipe yourself. Here is one basic method for entering new recipes that is fast and easy.

  1. Start with an empty meal.
  2. Enter food items as ingredients in the form used in the recipe (e.g., raw vs. cooked, peeled vs. whole, etc.). Weigh or measure each food ingredient for greater accuracy.
  3. Tap Food Log Settings (3-dot icon at the top right of the screen), tap Save as Recipe (iPhone app), or Create Recipe (Android app). For the web app, tap Add (located on the blue meal bar), tap Custom and then tap Recipe from <Meal> Foods.
  4. Complete each field as indicated in the recipe screen. See tips on how to complete those fields below.
  5. Tap Save to save your new recipe.

Recipe Name

Give your new recipe a unique name so that you can save it. It is also helpful to use a detailed name to help you remember what it is, especially if you have different versions of similar recipes.

Tip: Consider including your 3-character initials (e.g., KAI) in the recipe name to make it easier to find your recipes when you search. Searches need at least three characters in a word to bring up that word.

Recipe Icon

Tap the recipe icon to find image options. This icon will show up in your food log to the left of the recipe name. It doesn't matter which icon you choose, but members find it helpful to use an icon that looks like the recipe or reflects a main ingredient. If you choose an icon, the system-attached photo is displayed when you open the recipe unless you update the Recipe Photo (see below).


Be sure to enter into the recipe the most accurate food items and quantities so that your recipe analysis is accurate. For instance, did you use a cooked rotisserie chicken breast with the skin still on or a cooked skinless, boneless chicken breast in your recipe? Find the correct food item to log as an ingredient.

Do all of your ingredients have a weight? Most basic/staple foods have weights for their serving sizes, but not all brand foods do, especially for spices, oils, and liquids. Choose a food item that has a weight attached to its portion size. Given the two whole milk options below, I would choose the first one:

Milk whole 3.25% milkfat, 1 cup = 244 g
Whole milk by Hershey's, 1 cup = weight not available

If one of your ingredients has 0 calories, then check that item. Make sure the ingredient amount is correct and that you used a valid serving size (e.g., use one of the available serving sizes for that food). Water and many spices will have 0 calories, but other ingredients should have calories.

Tip: Use basic non-branded foods as ingredients to get the most complete nutrient and weight information. These basic food items also have more serving size options - this makes it much easier to enter recipe ingredients. To learn more about Staple Foods feature, read Leverage MyNetDiary's robust food database with these tips for searching basic and staple foods.

Can I Use a Recipe as an Ingredient in Another Recipe?

Yes! While entering recipe ingredients, you can select another recipe as an ingredient. For example, I typically log my homemade spaghetti sauce along with pasta and cheese in a meal. But I also use that sauce as an ingredient in my lasagna. I add the spaghetti sauce recipe as an ingredient in the lasagna the same way I would as any other food item. I follow my lasagna directions and log 4 cups (not the sauce recipe's original yield, 7 cups).

Tip: When you print or share a recipe that contains another recipe as an ingredient, be sure to print or share both recipes. I would print or share both my lasagna recipe and the spaghetti sauce recipe in the example above.

You can also use a Premium recipe as an ingredient in another recipe. Simply enter the amount of this recipe ingredient needed for the main recipe. If you need to use volume units but the ingredient recipe lists "servings," you can weigh the amount of the recipe ingredient you use and enter the weight in grams or ounces.

If you have to use volume units, you may want to use the Copy & Customize feature to create a copy and then update Total Servings with a measured volume (e.g., fl oz, cups, etc.) if that is provided in the Steps or Cooking Instructions. If the recipe does not offer this information, then consider making the recipe first and then measure the total yield yourself. Otherwise, you will have to guess how many servings to log as an ingredient amount when a recipe calls for a volume.

For example, I want to use the Premium recipe "Avocado Tahini Dressing" as an ingredient in a new recipe. I view the Premium recipe "Avocado Tahini Dressing," tap Copy & Customize, change the Recipe Name to "KAI Avocado Tahini Dressing," change Total Servings from 10 servings to 1.25 cups (this information is listed in the recipe instructions), and then I save my changes. Now I can easily use "KAI Avocado Tahini Dressing" as an ingredient in any other recipe, and the ingredient amount will be easy to log in cups, fl oz, or tbsp, etc.

The image below shows how I use the "KAI Avocado Tahini Dressing" recipe as an ingredient in another recipe, "KAI Tofu Barley with Avocado Tahini Dressing."

Will the Shopping List Work with Recipes Used as Ingredients?

Yes! All ingredients will show up in your Shopping List. For example, suppose I save my custom recipe "KAI Tofu Barley with Avocado Tahini Dressing" to my Shopping List. In that case, I see all ingredients in that recipe along with all of the ingredients used in my recipe used as an ingredient, "KAI Avocado Tahini Dressing." Hurray!

Recipe Totals

Total Recipe Calories

Total Recipe Calories is a system-calculated weight for the entire recipe, based upon the ingredients and quantities you entered.

Recipe Weight

If every ingredient in your recipe has a weight, then MyNetDiary calculates the recipe's total weight by adding up the sum of all ingredient weights and displays this value in grams. If there is no value in the Recipe Weight, then one or more ingredients is missing a weight. Tap the lightbulb icon to check which ingredients are missing ingredient weights. You can either replace the ingredient with the missing weight or measure the final recipe weight yourself and enter that gram value in Recipe Weight.

If you want to account for cooking losses, override the system-calculated Recipe Weight with your own measured cooked value. But be sure that you don't weigh the container along with the food! To weigh your cooked recipe, use a digital kitchen scale that can read grams. Place a container that can hold your cooked recipe on the scale and tare it (zero out the container weight) - all modern scales can do that. Carefully spoon, pour, or transfer your cooked recipe contents into the container on the scale and enter that gram value into Recipe Weight.

Tip: If you always log what you eat as a weight, then your calculated calories will be more accurate if you update the Recipe Weight with measured cooked weight. If you choose not to weigh the cooked weight, then be aware that the calories per weight will be falsely low due to not accounting for evaporative loss. For recipes that are not cooked, this will not be an issue.

Total Servings

The default is 1 serving. If the recipe yields multiple servings, then measure the yield and enter that value instead (e.g., 8 slices for a pizza, 12 enchiladas, etc.). If your recipe is a liquid or can be poured (e.g., chili, sauce, or a smoothie), measure the recipe's total volume and enter that in Total Servings. For example, I might enter 8 cups for my chili or 12 fl oz (or 11/2 cups) for my smoothie. Note that the system will automatically calculate total Recipe Weight based upon the sum of all ingredient weights, so reserve the Total Servings field to add more serving options for logging. If you use standard units of measure for volume (e.g., cups, fl oz, etc.), then the system will also calculate teaspoons, tablespoons, etc.

Single Serving Weight

Single Serving Weight is a system-calculated weight. You cannot override this field, but you can edit your recipe so that the weight per serving changes. Editing these fields will change the Single Serving Weight: Ingredients (additions, deletions, and changes to ingredient amounts), Recipe Weight, and Total Servings.


Cooking Time

Enter the total time to cook the recipe. The phone apps use an hour and minute wheel, whereas the web app requires you to enter the time as text using "h" for hours and "min" for minutes (e.g., 2h 10min). For slow cooker recipes, enter the total time you enter in the machine, even if you spend time sauteing veggies or browning meat for the slow cooker. If your recipe does not require cooking, then leave this field blank.

Preparation Time

Enter how long it takes you to prepare the food before cooking. For recipes that require freezing or marinating time, include that time here.


Steps is a free text area. Most people find it useful to number their recipe instructions. If you plan to print your recipes, consider whether you want to include spaces between instructions. A space between each instruction makes it easier to read but makes the recipe longer and possibly run to two printed pages.

Recipe Photo

The recipe photo is optional, but it is nice to see your photo attached to the recipe. If you are using your phone app to enter the recipe, tap the camera icon to see your options. Choose Camera to take a photo of your recipe, and then tap Use Photo to save it to your recipe. If you have already taken a photo of your recipe, choose Photo Library, and then tap the photo you wish to use in your recipe. Or, choose to use an image copied to your clipboard (tap Paste from Clipboard). If you are using the web app, tap Choose File to upload an image to your recipe.

Remember to Save Your Recipe!

Tap Save in the upper right corner of the screen once you have finished entering your new recipe. If you forget to do this, your recipe will not be saved!

Searching and Finding Your Recipes

While logging your meals, you can search for the recipe you cooked and ate in the same way as for any food - by recipe name. You can also select the Recipes tab while searching for foods to see a list of recipes. Once you find it, you can view, edit, share, delete, or print the recipe.

If you prefer to see a list of your recipes to view, share, or print a recipe, you can go to the Me tab in mobile apps, select Manage My Foods, and then select the Recipes tab. In the Web app, tap the star icon (it's in the same row as the nutrient column names), then tap My Recipes in the left menu bar. Or you can also find your list of recipes by placing your cursor in any meal, select My Foods, and then select Recipes.

How to Edit Your Recipes

Bring up your custom recipe, scroll down to the bottom of the screen, tap View This Recipe, tap the settings icon (3-dots in the upper-righthand corner), and then tap Edit. This will allow you to see all recipe fields available for editing. If you use the Android or iPhone app, you can also choose to tap the pencil icon to edit a specific section such as Ingredients.

You can change or delete an ingredient amount, reorder the list of ingredients, or view an ingredient's food label. To find these options, tap the 3-dot icon to the right of the ingredient if you use the Android or web app. If you use an iPhone app, just tap any ingredient to see the edit options.

Remember to save your changes!

Editing a Recipe That Has Already Been Logged

For recipe edits that affect calories (any changes to Ingredients, Recipe Weight, or Total Servings), you can make those edits if you have logged the recipe only once or have not yet logged the recipe. After editing and saving your recipe, go into the meal where it was logged that one time and correct the serving size to reflect what you ate. MyNetDiary prompts you to do this since the serving size changes to keep the calories constant.

If you have already logged your recipe in multiple meals but still want to make edits that will cause a change in calories, use Copy & Customize instead of Edit to make recipe changes. The Recipe Name will need to be changed, and the changes will be effective going forward in time. See the next section for more detail.

Copy & Customize - Another Awesome Feature

Use Copy & Customize feature to use one recipe as a base or template for a new recipe. This will save you a lot of data entry time if your new recipe is simply a variation on an existing recipe.

Copy & Customize is also the feature you will use to customize a Premium Recipe or a recipe someone shares with you. For instance, maybe you prefer to use safflower oil instead of canola oil, or perhaps you tend to use more chicken in a particular recipe. Once you have made the desired changes, rename the recipe so that it is more personalized. If you forget to change the recipe name before saving, then the new recipe name includes the word "Customized" at the very beginning (if you use the Android or web app). If you use an iOS app, you have to rename the recipe to save the changes.

Android app

In any meal log, bring up the recipe, tap View This Recipe (see bottom of the screen), and then tap Copy & Customize.

iPhone app

In any meal log, bring up the recipe, tap View This Recipe (see bottom of the screen), and then tap Copy & Customize (see bottom of the screen).

Web app

In any meal log, bring up the recipe, and then tap Copy & Customize in the top right corner.

Be sure to save your changes!

Sharing Recipes

Another great feature is sharing recipes if you use MyNetDiary iPhone or Android app. You can share your recipe with other MyNetDiary members or with people who do not use MyNetDiary.

To share your recipe, choose View This Recipe, then tap Share at the bottom of the screen. You can share the recipe via Message, Email, Link, PDF, or Text.

The Share feature is not available with the web app, but you can still share your recipes with other MyNetDiary members. Login to the web app, select Community, select My Community Profile, checkmark Let Everyone Find My Custom Foods and Activities, and tap Save. Once you do that, other members can find and copy your custom foods and recipes if they bring up your Personal Page (they can tap on your MyNetDiary nickname link in Forum, or they can use the search box in Community). Your Custom Catalog is found at the bottom of your Personal Page. If a member selects Copy to the right of a recipe name, it gets copied into that member's list of recipes. The copied recipe name includes "from Xyz'' at the very end of the recipe name, where Xyz is the member's MyNetDiary nickname. For instance, if you copy "Awesome Three Bean Chili" from Superman, you will see "Awesome Three Bean Chili from Superman" in your recipes list.

Deleting Recipes

Mobile apps

Bring up your list of custom recipes using Manage My Foods as described above. Tap the recipe you wish to delete, and then tap Retire Food.

Web app

Tap the star icon (it's in the same row as the nutrient column names), then tap My Recipes in the left menu bar. You can also find your list of recipes by placing your cursor in any meal, select My Foods, then select Recipes. Tap the recipe you want to delete to select it, tap the 3-dot settings icon to the right of the recipe name, and then tap Retire Recipe.

Creating Recipes vs. Meals

Anytime you enter food items in a meal, you have the option of saving those food items as a meal or as a recipe. Saving as a meal is different than saving as a recipe. Saving as a meal is the option you use if you often eat the same meal every day but want to edit the meal components daily. For instance, I almost always eat the same basic breakfast: tea, cottage cheese, toast, and extra virgin olive oil. When I save those items as a meal, I name it something easy to remember (e.g., "KAI Toast & Cottage Cheese Breakfast"). When I log that meal, all of my meal items get loaded into the meal. This is super helpful since I often have slightly larger or smaller amounts of toast, sometimes a bit more tea, and sometimes more olive oil. It's easy to tweak the meal items when it loads that way. And it saves time not to search and enter the same items to my breakfast every morning.

If you save meal items as a recipe, then the recipe loads as a single item. For instance, I have a recipe named "KAI Sicilian Spaghetti Sauce" and I make it the same way every time. When I log that recipe in a meal, I want it to show up as one item - "KAI Sicilian Spaghetti Sauce." If I had initially saved those items as a meal, then all 15 ingredients would load into the meal, and that is definitely not what I want to see in my dinner log!

Tip: Saving as a meal allows you to use a Siri shortcut to log that meal by name. Just be sure to name your meal so that it is easy to pronounce - this will allow Siri to interpret your command correctly. To learn more about Siri shortcuts, read Using Siri with MyNetDiary.

Mar 5, 2021
Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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