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Tool/Tip Thursday: Day 4

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ugh, I ate too much for dinner yesterday. I still feel bloated from it. I don't have anyone to blame but myself. I need to learn that it's ok to leave food on my plate. I grew up in a house where I had to eat everything on my plate. There were many times when I was younger I would have to sit at the table until 8 or 9 because I just didn't want to eat anymore. Now I'm working against that programming. And trying to work against my husband's programming which says all food made must be consumed in one meal. I adore leftovers.

Anyway, it's Thursday. Which means it's time for me to talk about the tool I've been trying. I've been using the USDA's Food Tracker called Super Tracker. You can find it at if you're interested in giving it a try. I put in my food from yesterday in both the super tracker and the SP tracker. The first thing I noticed was the huge difference in calories! According to the Super Tracker I was severely under my calories for instance. While SP actually said I was just slightly over my goal. Here are screenshots of both for comparison.

Why are they different? Well, a couple of obvious things stand out to me.

1. You're limited to the numbers they want you to use. So for instance I had .3 cup of cheese. I couldn't put in .3 cup, I could only put in 1/4 or 1/2 as the smallest amounts.
2. The choices are generic. When I wanted to enter my glass of coke I had to go to soda (Pepsi, Coke). Now, I don't know for certain but I'm pretty sure they won't have exactly the same nutritional information.
3. Not everything is there and you can't put in your own. With my breakfast I had Lorina Pomegranate. I had to enter it myself in SP, in the USDA tracker it wasn't there and there is no way to add your own foods. So I had to go with something closeish that is actually completely off.

If I had to trust one over the other I would take SP anyday. But I do still plan to use the USDA tracker. There is one thing I like about the USDA tracker, the empty calories section in the bottom right corner. For someone more advanced this may not be something needed but anyone who is new to tracking and isn't really sure about what is an empty calorie and what isn't this is an amazing tool. Of course again there is the question of how accurate it really is. But at least it can give you an idea of what is an empty calorie and what isn't.

I hope this helps someone. I'd love to hear your experiences with the USDA tracker.

As for the rest of my day, I'll be trying to do 2 SP routines today, eating some leftovers from dinner. It was an amazing Mexican Casserole. And that's it really. I haven't had the chance to start researching food scales yet. I might do that after I finish here.

Have a great day!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I have been able to find nearly everything I wanted on the Spark People food tracker. I just search food entered by other members and compare it to the package I have. There were very few things not already tracked by someone else.
    1940 days ago
    Great tip! I didn't even know the USDA thing existed! LOL And here I thought I was doing research.....boy am I just learning. Thank you so much and hope you enjoyed your leftovers emoticon
    1941 days ago
  • SUZANNE65203
    Thanks for the great information!
    1942 days ago
    Interesting about the food trackers' differences. On leaving food on the plate, I have switched to almost exclusively eating my meals off luncheon plate size dishes. It works for me. The only time I use a dinner plate is for a dinner salad.
    1942 days ago
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