Tips and Tricks for using Nutritionix
By: Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, LDN
If you use Nutritionix for tracking your food and calorie intake, then you’re not alone! Thousands of others do so as well. Nutritionix is used by hundreds of health apps, health professionals and dieters – and rightfully so because Nutritionix has a large database of foods to log.
In this post, we will give you several tips and tricks that you can use when logging in Nutritionix. Since logging can be a pain, hopefully these tips will save you time and make your weight loss regimen a little easier.
Tips and Tricks for using Nutritionix
Go from a Nutritionix novice to pro with these quick tips. You may even be able to use these tips in other components of your weight loss program.
Tip #1: Get the Nutritionix app
It may be easier to track your meals as you go about your day. Make sure you have the app installed on your phone for mobile logging. Be sure to login to Prescribewell and give your doctor permission to view the data you enter in Nutritionix. They can help you in your journey!
Tip #2: Scan bar codes
Nutritionix has a feature where you can scan the bar code on a food item. Scanning the barcode should generate that food’s nutrient profile. However, make sure you adjust for the portion size that you consume. Nutritionix will generate the nutrient profile based on a certain serving size.
Tip #3: Make a meal
Say you made spaghetti for your whole family last night. Instead of logging every single food item that you put on your plate (and in the proper portion size), you can create meals in Nutritionix. The benefit of this is that you can input all the food that you used to cook the whole meal, then divide it.
Let’s look at an example meal:
|Spaghetti (for 4 people)
· ¼ cup olive oil
· 1 onion
· 3 cloves garlic
· 1 box spaghetti noodles
· 1 jar pasta sauce
· ½ pound ground turkey (for meatballs)
· 1 cup Parmesan cheese
· 4 dinner rolls
· 2 Tbsp butter
If you ate one portion of this meal, then it may be really hard to figure out how much of each ingredient you actually consumed. Who knows how to quantify 1/4th of 3 cloves garlic? To make your life simpler, log the entire meal that was cooked (yes, all 4 portions) and then divide the total entry by 4 in Nutritionix. Nutritionix will automatically adjust the nutrition to be 1/4th of what was cooked.
Tip #4: Create meals for things you frequently consume
You can also create meals for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks that you frequently consume. Having a list of frequent meals on your Nutritionix app can be helpful and make logging go faster. Create single-serving meal entries for meals that you eat both within and outside of the home. Do you have a usual Starbucks order? Create a pre-entered meal for that!
Tip #5: Write it down, then log later
If you’d rather log the old fashioned way on pen and paper but want to get the benefits of the app, you can write down your intake each day and then schedule a set time to input it into the app. The key to tracking what you eat is recording it close to the time you eat it. It’s not easy to remember what you ate last Tuesday and how much you ate!
Tip #6: Set a reminder on your phone to log
Depending on how you want to log your food, you can set a reminder for yourself to log at the end of each day or to log at the end of each week. While logging once per week for the whole week may sound appealing, you may not remember everything you ate, making your logs less accurate.
Tip #7: Log your food via voice
Did you know that you can speak into the Nutritionix app and it will log your food? Try it next time you use the software! This can be helpful if you are trying to log your food as you are cooking. Also, this speaking feature may be particularly useful for people who have trouble seeing the small type on the screen. While you may think you can use this hands-free feature while driving, avoid using the app while you are operating a vehicle!
Tip #8: Check if the Nutritionix database has your favorite restaurants
Depending on which restaurants you frequent, you may be able to find that restaurant’s dishes already within the app! Instead of searching general food items or meals, type in the restaurant’s name and see if their dishes pop up. This can help you quickly input your meal while you are enjoying your time at the restaurant. Remember: Don’t forget to log any drinks you consume!
Tip #9: Use the Nutritionix “Nutrition Calculators”
The Nutritionix website provides several nutrition calculators that can help you determine the nutrition of your meal. Some restaurants like Chipotle, Mellow Mushroom, KFC, Marco’s Pizza, Boston Market, Wawa and Ted’s Montana Grill have their own nutrition calculators on the Nutritionix website. The calculators for these restaurants allow you to pick which menu items you ordered and how you modified them (if applicable). This information will generate a Nutrition Facts label for the meal. If you want to add this meal to your Nutritionix app, it also generates a QR code that you can scan to log on your phone.
Tip #10: Compare foods with the “Popular Foods Beta”
What’s the “Popular Foods Beta” and how can it be used? The Popular Foods Beta is a tool on the Nutritionix website that looks at nutrient data from app users. You can pick which category of food to search (i.e. “bakery donut”) and see specific brands and their specific nutrient profile. Aside from that, you can see how other similar items nutritionally compare to that specific brand. You may find that the brand you are eating is not the healthiest option. If you do look into this tool, play around with it before giving up. Out of all the tools provided by Nutritionix, this tool seems the least user friendly!
Want more logging help?
For more about calorie counting and logging, be sure to read our essential guide to calorie counting!