Just started tracking macros? Feeling overwhelmed? Here are a few macro tracking tips and tricks.
Creating Meals, Recipes & Food in MFP
One of the features I use the most in My Fitness Pal is creating Meals, Recipes & Food.
I love this video from Malzisfit. She does a great job explaining how to track a recipe in MFP.
When I cook rice, pasta or a lot of meat, here are the steps I use to create a recipe:
Step 1: Weigh the pan/bowl/instapot/crockpot you are going to cook your food in and note the weight (in grams). This only works for instapots/crockpots where you can remove the actual “pot”.
Step 2: Create a recipe in MFP and put 1 as the serving size.
Step 3: Add all of the ingredients to the recipe manually. For meat, this is raw weight. For pasta or rice, this is the uncooked weight (dry weight). Ideally, you should weigh and record all of the ingredients in grams.
Step 4: Save your recipe. Serving size should still be set to 1.
Step 5: When cooking is complete, weigh the pan/bowl/instapot/crockpot with the food in it in grams.
Step 6: Take the weight from Step 5 and subtract the weight from Step 1.
Step 7: Update the serving size in MFP for your recipe with the weight you calculated in Step 6.
Step 8: Weigh out the serving you plan to eat in grams.
Step 9: Add the recipe to your dairy and the serving size is the weight from Step 8.
I get asked why I use this method when cooking meat instead of just weighing each piece individually. I think it’s easier to just weigh 5 pieces of chicken (total weight for all 5), cook them all and then weigh them after they are cooked (total weight for all 5). This might not be “perfect”, but it’s close enough. Flexible dieting is all about consistency and not perfection.
The Meals feature comes in handy for foods you typically eat together as a meal. I eat the same cereal and milk almost everyday before I workout, so I created a Meal called Pre Workout Cereal so I don’t have to enter the same three items everyday. To create a Meal in MFP, Select More>Meals, Recipes & Foods>Meals Tab>Create a Meal.
We all get in situations where we have to eat at a restaurant. It can be very stressful when this is unplanned and you have no idea what to order and don’t have time to look up nutritional information. If you have certain “go to” restaurants in, creating a Food in MFP can eliminate the guesswork and stress. To create a Food in MFP, Select More>Meals, Recipes & Foods>Foods Tab>Create a Food. Chipotle is one of my “go to” restaurants, so I have created multiple foods that I know will typically fit my macros. All of these are lower in fat, but some have higher carbs and some have lower carbs.
Weigh your Pots, Pans and Casserole Dishes
One of the most frustrating things that can happen while cooking a recipe is forgetting to weigh your pot/pan/casserole dish, etc. A tip is to set aside some time and weigh the pots, pans, casserole dish, crockpot and instapot that you use the most. Record the description of the item and the weight and store it in your kitchen. The eliminates the step of having to get the weight prior to cooking.
Buy Pre-Cut Veggies
I use a lot of onions, peppers and garlic when I cook. It took a lot of time chopping and prepping these, so I started buying them pre-cut. These can be found in the vegetable section or the freezer section of the grocery store.
Bag Snacks into Individual Servings
For snacks that come in large bags, measure out individual servings. Not only will this save time, but it will help you from over eating your favorite snacks. We all know how tempting it is to just have “one more chip” out of that large bag of potato chips.
One of the most frustrating thing that can happen is realizing that something you just ate was more than one serving size. Before you eat anything that appears to be in a “single serving” package, check the serving size.
Tracking Training vs Non Training Day Macros (Does Not Apply to All Clients)
A common mistake is to forget or lose track of Training vs Non Training day macros. Here are two ways you can track:
- If you have the Premium version of My Fitness Pal and you have set days that you train and set days that you rest each week, then you can setup daily macro goals. To do this, go to the MFP app and select More>Goals>Calorie & Macronutrient Goals>Add Daily Goal. This only works if (for example) you always train Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and rest Sunday and Wednesday.
- When the days you rest and train differ from week to week, I would suggest not using Daily Goals. Instead, setup your macro goals based on your training day macros. When you have a rest day, create a Quick Add entry in MFP that accounts for the difference in macros. For example, if your carb macros are 190g for training days and 170g for non training days, you would put a quick add entry of 20g of carbs on your non training days.
Have questions about flexible dieting? Contact FitFlex Nutrition to learn more about our Nutrition Coaching services.