New year, new goals, new you…right?
But now it’s the end of February and you’re still struggling to figure out exactly what works for you. It’s been hard to keep track of all the macros, carbs, fats, proteins, sugars, etc. You’re still wondering, is there a better way to keep my goals on track?
There are lots of different diets and systems out there, that’s why tools like MyFitnessPal (MFP) can be super helpful in keeping track of what goes into your body so you can achieve your goals. MFP is an app that helps you keep track of your food intake throughout the day by entering in the food you consume. You can customize your goals, track your macros, and see in which areas you lack nutrients. This works well with any diet or lifestyle plan you may be following because it is fully customizable to your needs!
It is important to understand how to use tools like MFP in everyday life, so we decided to speak to people throughout the community to hear their thoughts, different viewpoints, and helpful tips when using it, especially when ordering at places like Vinaigrette. We asked a couple of friends- Katie, Abby, Peter, and Brooke- to answer some questions about how they use MFP, what their goals are, and what to consider when dining out. Below are some of their answers that we thought could benefit you!
1. Why do you use MyFitnessPal?
“MFP makes it so easy. It keeps a list of everything you have entered and sorts them by ‘commonly used’ so you can just click and be done. You can even find a ton of restaurants’ meal information as well as use the bar code scanner to quickly input store bought items. I find it so easy to use and interesting to see where my diet is lacking or could maybe use a bit of reigning in!” -Abby
“For me personally, MFP serves as a tool to educate myself on what I am putting into my body compared to what my body actually needs, and it helps me keep track of my nutrients.” -Brooke
2. What are the most important things to remember when dining out?
“I think balance is most important. Wherever I eat, I want to be present, not consumed by the calories in the food I am enjoying. I like to make sure I have a colorful array of food on my plate.” -Katie
“I think it’s important to keep in mind that one meal will not drastically impact your body, but people who are dieting or watching their calories should know that consistency over time is what gives results, not one meal. I think aiming to get protein, some kind of vegetables, a carb source, and a healthy fat is what builds a healthy meal.” -Abby
“Know the number of calories you need. If weight loss/gain/maintenance is your goal, plan!” -Peter
3. Vinaigrette has several deliciously designed salads available on the menu, but there is also the option to build your own salad and choose whatever toppings you would like. Walk us through how you would create your salad, what ingredients you find delicious and important, and how this fits into your nutrition plan.
“I love to start salads with a mix of spinach (for its incredible nutrition profile) and romaine lettuce (to add some crunch). Next I like to pick my veggies- some of my favorites are bell peppers, cucumbers, and cauliflower… I also love avocado in salads either as a dressing or another mix-in; it has so many health benefits and I try to incorporate healthy fats as much as I can!” -Abby
“To create a high fat/protein salad based on my low-carb goal, I would start with all spinach, add some chicken, bacon, egg, maybe some pecans just for fun, avocado, and cheese. Whenever I am not particularly concerned about a specific goal, the bluegrass blackberry salad with all spinach is my go-to!” -Brooke
“Protein is the first thing I’ll look at to build a salad. If I am trying to stick to my macros and eat out then I am looking for something that is very high in protein and lean so it doesn’t bust my fats and carbs. Other than protein, I look at taste. I know it’s going to have all the carbs I need, so I love sweet fruits like cranberries and some nuts that add crunch and fats.” -Peter
“I absolutely LOVE kale for so many reasons- it has so many micronutrients like vitamins A, B6, K, and C as well as manganese, magnesium, and calcium- so I would choose a kale base. My toppings would include fresh apples to add a little sweetness, avocado for good fat and flavor, sunflower seeds for more crunch, and some chickpeas and edamame because they are good sources of plant-based protein. I don’t usually get dressing, but I might get some blackberry vinaigrette on the side.” -Katie
4. What is your overall personal outlook on nutrition, eating healthy, dining out, and tracking nutrients?
“I would rather have a healthy relationship with food than a perfect body. That said, I do believe eating the right nutrients and filling my body on a regular basis with nutrient dense food is best for my long-term health…For me, tracking can be a tool to understand better how my body responds to certain foods while still knowing that those numbers do not affect my worth.” -Katie
“Overall, I believe the most important thing is trying to get a wide variety of nutrients and eating foods that make you feel good, inside and out.” -Abby
“Planning and consistency is key. I’ve worked hard to change my mindset about food throughout the years. My goal is to view it as fuel and not always something to indulge in. This makes the times when I want to indulge in food earned and not something to feel guilty about.” -Peter
To our four friends who helped inform us and share their experiences with MFP, thank you! To our readers, we hope that their answers have helped provide some helpful insight, shown you that there are other people going through similar health journeys, and encouraged you that there are absolutely ways to dine out while maintaining your goals!