Knowing the make up of the food that goes into our bodies is important, and it seems to be a growing interest for everyone these days. With that, as a food blogger it has become increasingly more relevant to include nutrition facts with the recipes that I create. How I do it: MyFitnessPal. So without further adieu, here’s my comprehensive guide to MyFitnessPal for bloggers and personal users alike. Keep reading to learn what the app is for, how to log food and recipes, how to input or change recipes, and so much more.
What is MyFitnessPal for?
MyFitnessPal For Everyday Users
MyFitnessPal (MFP) is essentially designed to track what you’re eating throughout the day. Whether you’re looking to make sure you're getting enough of a certain nutrient, watching your sodium intake, or counting macros, MyFitnessPal takes the guesswork out of it and makes logging nutrition a breeze. There are multiple tracking apps out there, but I’ve found MFP to be the most user friendly and contains a HUGE database of specific products as well as restaurant items making everyday tracking easier.
If you’re familiar with Madeline Moves and her Tighter Together challenges, she uses macro counting as a way to help individuals reach their health and fitness goals. My first introduction to MFP was via macro counting and it changed my relationship with food for the better. I learned how to fuel my body properly and take the guesswork out of it.
What are macros?
‘Macros’ or macronutrients are the nutritional makeup of food including its carbohydrate, fat, and protein content. Eating these components in a specific ratio can help you meet your health and fitness goal. Everyone’s optimal ratio is going to be different based on a variety of factors including age, gender, activity level, etc. I am not a nutritionist or dietician, so I will not give advice with regards to what ratios are right for you, but do know there are multiple people that are specialized in this field.. Note: I strongly advise you to seek professional consulting on numbers - they're unique to your body. I've heard good things about TheHabyt.
What I can provide you, however, are some macro-friendly recipes. ‘Macro-friendly’ meals are those typically high in protein, low in fat, and moderate in carbs. This doesn’t mean they can’t be delicious! A few of my favorites can be found at the links below.
- Zesty Turkey Meatballs
- Macro Friendly Cheesy Quesadilla
- Baked Feta Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- Thai Chicken Lettuce Wrap
- Key Lime Pie Milkshake
- Skinny Turkey Enchiladas
MyFitnessPal for Bloggers
One of the most requested elements I get for a recipe blog post is the nutrition facts. The solution: MyFitnessPal. I previously used Nutrifox to create nutrition labels but there were a few issues I’d run into with the platform. For starters, specific brands and even specific foods were not in the database. For example, if I use 0% fat greek yogurt in a recipe which has an excellent macro profile with high protein, and low fat and carbs, Nutrifox may only have ‘yogurt’ as an optional ingredient which may read as a much higher sugar/carb and fat count. Additionally, it was often inaccurate with its measurements and I couldn’t account for the proper ingredient amounts. Often too, WordPress would reject the Nutrifox link and the image of the label itself would not display properly on my post.
Overall, Nutrifox was a user friendly site but did not serve me for the purposes I was using it for. Another bonus… I could ditch the Nutrifox subscription and use MyFitnessPal for FREE. Yes, this did mean I had to redo the nutrition labels for 100+ recipes at once. So be aware if you’ve got a large recipe index, this is going to take some time up front. But as a blogger, I highly recommend MyFitnessPal as an easy and accurate way to obtain both nutrition labels and macro counts for your own recipes. Read on to find out how.
How to Find a Recipe in MyFitnessPal
If you’re making one of my recipes, lucky for you it’s already uploaded into MyFitnessPal! Just search ‘A Paige Of Positivity’ along with the recipe name and it should pop right up. I do know a handful of other bloggers also using MFP such as Lille Eats and Tells and Erin Lives Whole. So in the app, again just search the blogger’s name and you may be able to find their recipes too!
Important note! How my recipes are uploaded into MFP are using the exact ingredients written in the post. Typically this does not include any extra toppings or optional ingredients, but you can check the bottom of each blog post for details on what is or is not accounted for.
How to add a recipe to MyFitnessPal
Adding a recipe to MyFitnessPal for Personal Use
If you’re looking to upload a recipe that is not already in MyFitnessPal you can take the following steps. This is also the steps you’ll want to do if you’re looking to change any ingredient(s) in a recipe. I find it easier to do this on the web browser version of MFP as compared to the app, but I’ll include step by step instructions for both.
Using the Browser:
- Once logged into your profile, click the ‘Food’ tab across the top
- Then you’ll click ‘Recipes’
- From there you’ll see the following options: ‘Recipe Importer’ or below that ‘Add Recipe Manually’.
Using the Recipe Importer:
- If you’re using a recipe from a website, uploading a recipe into MFP is as easy as copying and pasting the link into the ‘Recipe Importer’ box.
- From there, you’re asked to confirm the ingredients. You’ll want to remove any of the instructions in the ingredient list (i.e. removing “softened” from “½ cup of butter, softened”) and correct the servings because typically the default is one serving. You’ll also want to get as specific as possible here for the most accurate nutrition facts. For example, if the recipe calls for milk, be specific with regards to whether you’re using skim, 2%, whole, almond, etc. Most popular brands are also in MFP so if you can add the brand name, it only helps with accuracy. See the app directions below for notes on scanning the nutrition label.
- If you’re wanting to change an ingredient, now is also the time to do so. As an example below, I wanted to use goat cheese instead of crumbled feta in the One Pot Pasta recipe and made that change here.
- After editing the recipe and clicking “Match Ingredients”, you’ll want to confirm that MFP pulled the foods you actually wanted it to include. The food index is not infallible. I’ve noticed it being particularly inaccurate at matching cheese macros, so just make sure nothing looks completely abnormal (for example it reads 1T butter as a pound of butter, you’ll obviously need to correct this which you can do by choosing the button “Edit Quantity”).
- Once you’ve made it to this point, all you have to do is click save and your recipe is ready to log!
Adding your Recipe Manually:
If you’re wanting to upload your own recipe, a recipe from a magazine, or grandma’s lasagna that you only have written on an 3x5 index card, you’ll want to choose ‘Add Recipe Manually’
You’ll see this screen where you can type out the ingredients and quantity for MFP to match the ingredients.
Again, the same goes as when using the Recipe Importer when it comes to confirming the site pulled the correct foods and quantities. If any corrections need to be made you can use the “Replace” button to find a new food or the “Edit Quantity” to update the amount. Once confirmed, go ahead and click save!
Using the App:
Putting a recipe into the app is fairly similar to doing it online, but here are the details.
- Upon opening the app click the ‘more’ button in the bottom right corner.
- From here, click the tab titled ‘My Meals, Recipes & Foods’
- The bottom of the screen will show a blue banner that says ‘Create a Recipe’
- Then follow the steps above to either input a recipe from the web or input your own!
One great part about using the app is that you can scan in specific brand ingredients. When you’re adding ingredients to your own recipe or swapping the MFP matches of ingredients from a web recipe, you can use the ‘Scan’ button to use your phone’s camera to scan in the barcode on an item to get its exact nutrition facts. This also makes the recipe uploading process quicker as you don’t have to search for specific products in the huge MFP database.
Adding a recipe to MyFitnessPal for Bloggers
If you’re looking to generate nutritional info for your blog, here I'll detail how to share recipes on MyFitnessPal. There is a couple of extra steps you’ll need to take to make your recipe searchable. Follow these instructions to obtain a nutrition label for your recipe, as well as make your recipe public for other users to search and log for themselves!
- If you're trying to upload a recipe already live on your blog, you can use the instructions listed under ‘Using the Recipe Importer’ above and copy + paste your blog link.
- If you’re doing this before your recipe goes live, you’ll use the ‘Adding Your Recipe Manually’ directions above.
- Once you’ve made it this far and saved your recipe, you’ll see a screen that looks like this (this is an example using my Chickpea Mediterranean Chopped Salad)
- Then, you’ll need to make your recipe ‘public’. To do this, you actually need to insert it as a MFP ‘Food’. To do this, click the ‘My Foods’ tab at the top of the web page. You’ll see a green button in the top right corner that says 'Create Food'. Click this.
- MFP prompts you to insert a Brand/Restaurant as well as the Food Description. For the brand on all of my recipes I use “A Paige of Positivity” and the Food Description I use the recipe title. This allows users to more easily find my recipes and they can log my Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe, instead of logging a can of Campbell’s.
- Once you’ve got the recipe title all set, you’ll click continue and be prompted to add the nutrition facts. I like to pull up the nutrition label screenshot I made previously and put it beside my web browser page to quickly copy over the numbers.
- The last step before clicking save is making sure your recipe is public! You’ll see the option below at the very bottom of the page. Make sure this box is checked for others to be able to find your ‘Food’ and you’re good to go. Your recipe is now searchable!
How to Determine Servings in MyFitnessPal
As a general rule of thumb, my recipes are uploaded as ‘single servings’. However, what that exactly means can differ from recipe to recipe. For example, one serving of my Healthier Carrot Cake Bars is one bar, but that’s only if you cut your bars into 9 equal pieces as I did. And then if you’re making my Orzo Pasta Salad, one serving is ⅙th of the recipe.
For my pre-logged recipes, note the serving size written on the recipe card in the blog post and go from there. If you’d like to determine your own serving size, just log a portion of the entire recipe. In MFP you can choose a fraction of the ‘container’. The ‘container’ is the entire recipe. Using the Healthier Carrot Cake Bars as an example again, if you instead decide to cut your bars into 16 equal pieces, you can log one bar as 1/16 of the container.
As you can see, it’s going to get a little variable here regardless of how you do it. If you’re trying to be very exact with your macros here’s another option in determining servings: logging as weight. To do this you’ll need a food scale and I’ll walk you through how to do this with my Healthy Pesto Chicken Salad.
How to log a recipe in grams:
- Once you’ve finished making the chicken salad, place a tupperware that you’ll store the salad in on your food scale.
- Zero the scale and add your chicken salad. Whatever the weight is, in grams (let’s say 550 grams), will be the number of servings in your imported MFP recipe (550 servings).
- Then, when you go to eat the chicken salad. Place the tupperware back on the food scale and zero it again. Scoop your desired serving amount onto your plate leaving the tupperware on the food scale. The scale should now read a negative number (let’s say -200 grams).
- You’ll then log the grams as the number of servings. 200 servings of chicken salad. Yes this sounds crazy, but when the recipe is 550 total, it makes sense and the macro count will be correct.
- This might sound tedious, but the more specific you are with your macro counting, the better results you’ll see.
Other helpful MyFitnessPal Features
And to round out this post, here’s a few other helpful MyFitnessPal features that I think are worth noting.
Setting Macro Goals in the App
If you do have a specific macro ratio that you’re using as a target, you can put this into MFP. To do this you can follow the steps below. Do note that unless you purchase the premium version you won’t be able to input exact macro values, but you can get pretty close. So here are the steps.
- First hit the “Goals” tab. This is under the “My Home” section on the web browser or the three dots in the bottom right hand corner of the app.
- Here you’ll want to edit the calories based upon your personalized macronutrient count. “But Courtney, I thought we weren’t counting calories?!” Well, we aren’t but each gram of carbohydrate is equivalent to 4 calories, each gram of protein is 4 calories, and each gram of fat is 9 calories, so ultimately you’ll end up with a target calorie goal as well.
- Once your calories are in, you’ll want to play around with the macro percentages and get them as close as you can to your target macros. They may be off by a couple of grams because the percentages only move in 5% increments, but don’t sweat it because you’ll still be able to see the exact counts of each as your logging your food daily.
- MFP makes the calorie count very obvious as you log food to your food diary throughout the day, but to see where you’re at with your macro count you can use the “Nutrition” button at the bottom of the app, or reference this box which is at the bottom of the your diary on the web browser page.
Using the My Meals Tab
The ‘My Meals’ tab is a great tool to make logging a breeze when you often eat the same foods paired with one another. For example, if you’re go to lunch is my Healthy Pesto Chicken Salad on a lavash wrap, with an apple and a Double Chocolate Built Bar, you can input this as a ‘meal’ and each time you have that meal you won’t have to input each item, but rather all of them at once as a group of foods.
And that's a wrap on the How to Use MyFitnessPal guide. Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below. I'd be happy to help answer any questions you may have! And don't forget to find all of my recipes in MyFitnessPal by searching 'A Paige Of Positivity' and the recipe title. Happy logging!
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