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CHEETARA79 SparkPoints: (107,102)
Fitness Minutes: (107,511)
Posts: 3,870
8/12/14 9:31 A

Do you have a smart phone? The Spark app lets you use your smart phone to scan the bar codes of food packages rather than typing in the name of the food. It's really convenient!

I also recommend you invest $20 in a digital scale. I got mine from Bed Bath and Beyond.

NIRERIN Posts: 14,246
8/12/14 7:48 A

you could take everything out all at once and make sure it's accurately in the tracker. or you could wait until you use the item and have already taken it out to cook/eat and then enter it in as you use it. that latter method can take a few weeks to get all your staples in, but it's a much less time intensive method, at least per day.

if you don't eat the same serving size as the box says, you have to do a little math. so if a box of something has a 2/3 [.67] cup serving and you only eat half a cup, well, having the serving unit entered as .67 cup in the tracker [when you manually enter the nutrition info] will help because all you need to do is put .5 in the box that .67 is in when you enter it into your daily tracker and the program will do the math for you. same if you had 2 cups of the item. and just to be clear if the item isn't in the tracker, manually enter in the info just how it is on the box, making sure to pick a unit like cups or grams instead of just serving when you enter it in. once it's in the tracker how it is on the box you can input whatever measurement you actually eat if it's not the same.

tracking is also best done in whatever way is easiest for you. a notebook, dry erase board, spark, excel spreadsheet, whatever. spark will do most of the work for you, but you will have to put in some time inputting. there isn't a right or wrong way, there is whatever path you find the least resistance on.

once you start tracking, you'll get an idea of where you are and that's when you start noting that you're getting too much salt, too much fat, too little protein, too little fiber, not enough vegetables, too many serving of candy, etc. then you can start making changes. like perhaps you note that your fried chicken has enough fat for the whole day, so you might want to eat that less frequently or find a way to cut some of the fat out of the recipe. or you might find your pasta primavera has a lot of veggies and fiber, so you might want to eat that more often. usually once you have the data it's easy to look and see what's causing you problems. you can always share a few days on this board and you'll get more suggestions than you could possibly want about how you could tweak what you're doing.

ELECTRA7D SparkPoints: (18,798)
Fitness Minutes: (14,595)
Posts: 872
8/12/14 3:19 A

Are you going to use the Spark People tracker? A lot of foods have already been entered by other people, so you can search them by name. If you do have to enter a food manually, then the next time you want it, it will already be there. I use the recipe calculator too. For me the online tracker is the easiest way to keep track of my carbs, which is the big one for me (I'm diabetic).

If you're not going to use an online tracker, then probably the easiest way is to get a dry erase board and hang it in your kitchen, or inside the pantry door, or somewhere else convenient. Every time you eat something, write the calories down on the board.

If I'm going to eat something special for dinner, sometimes I'll write down those calories at the beginning of the day (for example, if we're going out to dinner, I'll decide what I'm having and look up the calories for that meal). Then I know how many calories I have left for the rest of the day and I don't go over.

I also buy things that are packaged in individual servings, or I'll buy a bigger package and split it into single servings in ziplock bags. That way I don't have to count out the pieces when I'm going to eat them, I'm not likely to keep going back for just "one" more, and I don't have to calculate the calories for that snack every time.

SARAHMO4 Posts: 335
8/12/14 1:29 A

So I know that one of the first steps to take for me is to eat healthier and tracking food helps that. Here's my recurring issue? How do I start figuring out the servings calories and other important info for all the food in my home? Do I just write down what the box says, what I eat, or is there anything I really need to write somewhere? How can I do those without taking everything out of my cupboards and confusing myself even more. I am not the greatest at organization or starting things so any help on how to start this without a lot of stress would be great. After that I don't know what to do other than keeping track of everything daily and sticking to my goals or calorie range. I really need to figure this out because this is the one thing that sets me back the most. This can be really frustrating and I really have no idea what I am doing. I don't want to stop trying because I cant figure this out.

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