Disclosure: We received no compensation from MyFitnessPal or Under Armour for this post.
In a previous post, I showed you how to use the MyFitnessPal app to calculate your daily food consumption for a ketogenic diet. For Barbara and me, this app has been absolutely essential to our keto diet success story.
However, shortly after publishing that post, I realized that most of our friends probably use their mobile devices a lot more than a laptop. Unfortunately, the screenshots I used in that tutorial were from my laptop.
So, in order for you to experience the same keto diet success that Barbara and I have had, I thought it would be helpful if I put together a tutorial on how to use the MyFitnessPal (MFP) app on your handheld device too.
When I initially set up MyFitnessPal on Barb’s phone, I thought it would generally follow the computer program, but it didn’t. The phone app is very different than the desktop program.
I’m not completely tech ignorant but configuring this app took a bit of time. Eventually, though, I got the hang of it, and I must say it’s a handy app. If you’re tethered to your phone, then this app is a great way to keep track of your macros.
Since I’m an iPhone user, I will tailor this tutorial to that specific device. I can’t imagine though that the app would be that different on android devices, but I could be wrong.
Download The MyFitnessPal App
The very first thing you have to do is download the MFP app. That means you’ll have to use your email. MFP will send you an email at least once a week. I hate spam as much as anyone, but I kind of enjoy the MFP emails. They’re not pushy on selling things even though they’re run by the clothing manufacturer Under Armour.
While their dietary theory is not always the same as mine, they often have interesting recipes that can be modified for gluten-free, low-carb diets and their fitness tips can be useful at times. They’ll also send you a summary of your weekly progress.
Okay, once you have the app installed, your first step is to enter your personal goals.
Establishing Your Personal Goals
If you’ve already read this far, I assume you know what your ketogenic dietary goals are. But if you don’t, you can click here to see how Barbara and I do it using ketogains.com. Once you have determined those goals, you can then proceed to the MFP app.
The Home Page
When you open the MFP app, it will display the home page. It looks like this.
As you can see, my personal goal of 1500 calories is already set. Again, I established this goal by calculating my daily macronutrient intake on the ketogains.com calculator. Next, you want to enter your personal goals.
Entering Your Personal Goals
In the above picture, on the lower right, is the more button. Tap this button and it will take you to the More page.
Now tap the Goals button. This will take you to the main Goals page.
On this page, you can set some general health and fitness goals. These include goals like starting weight, current weight, goal weight, and activity level. Notice I set my activity level at “not very active”. Since I’m not on my feet all day and I’m not an endurance athlete, I felt that was the right choice.
As you scroll down, you’ll see Nutrition Goals. Don’t set these yet.
Continue to scroll down and you’ll see Fitness Goals. You can go ahead and set Workouts/Week and Minutes/Workout.
Now scroll back up to Nutrition Goals and tap on Calorie, Carbs, Protein and Fat Goals. If you have the free version app, when this screen opens, the other categories should be locked.
Setting Nutrition Goals
Tap the Calorie, Carbs, Protein and Fat Goals button and the following Calories & Macros screen will appear.
Here’s where it gets a little tricky. Calories are easy to set because you can set them at exactly what you want. Just tap on it and set the number you want.
However, if you only have the free version, like I do, you cannot set carbs, protein, and fat by the grams. You must do it by percentages. Again, if you have your macro percentages in mind, this shouldn’t be too difficult.
First, tap on either of the three macros and you will be brought to this page.
You can adjust any of the macro percentages to a percent you desire. I set mine to 5% carbs, 25% protein and 70% fat. This equaled 100% of my daily allowable macro intake.
As you can see, it automatically set my carb consumption at 19 grams. Protein at 94 grams and fat at 117 grams. This is pretty close to the parameters calculated by the ketogains.com calculator. It may not be exact, but it gives a good basis from which to work. Make sure your macro percentage is set to 100%.
Hit the check mark at the top of the screen and your macros are set!
Now, tap the back arrow twice and you’re back to the MORE page.
Now you’re ready to start adding in your daily food consumption.
Adding In Daily Food Consumption On MFP
Let’s start to add in food. In the above MORE page, tap that big blue button with the plus sign. That will bring you to this screen.
Now, tap that big orange button that says food. You guessed that already, right? You’ll now be brought to the Select a Meal page.
You can choose to add food to whatever meal you’d like. Let’s start with breakfast.
Adding Food For Breakfast
Tap on the Breakfast button, and you’ll be brought to this screen.
From this page, you can search for a food. Most of the food we eat is in the MFP data bank. It will also record your recent and frequent food choices. You can see it has kept a whole list of my recent food choices. I was fortunate that the mobile app imported all my food choices from my laptop version.
Okay, let’s first search for scrambled eggs. Type scrambled eggs into the search bar, press search on your device, and a whole list of scrambled egg choices will appear.
Now tap on Large Egg – Scrambled. Subsequently, a whole lot of nutrition information, including macronutrient data, will appear. Eggs are almost the perfect food. Notice their macro data. They have excellent protein and fat and are in low carbs.
If you’re going to eat two eggs, go to servings, tap it, and it will allow you to add more. The macronutrient data will adjust accordingly.
Since I usually eat two eggs a day, I’ll input that data. Once you have added a particular food, tap the check mark at the top of the screen. It will then bring you to the Today page.
As you can see, you can add more food to whatever meal you choose.
Adding More Food
To add more food, just tap the Add Food button and go through the same process.
I’m going to add in one link of Trader Joe’s Sweet Italian Sausage from the breakfast add food button. Go ahead and search for it. See if you can find it. Once you find it, tap the check mark at the top of the page, and you’ll see that the screen has added in the sausage.
Don’t add any more food right now. I want you to look at the top of the screen where it shows a green 1218 remaining. This is obviously the number of calories I can consume for the rest of the day.
Now, tap the green 1218. It will bring you to the Nutrition page.
The Nutrition Page
My app opens to the Macros selection on the Nutrition page first. If yours open differently, tap the Macros selection first. This screen shows you the macro content of the food you have already ingested for the day.
You can see that I’ve already consumed 4g of carbs, 20g of fat, and 23g of protein.
The Total category shows you my macro percentage of the food you’ve eaten and the Goal category is your original daily macro data.
The Total category is not important right now but will become important later in the day as it will show you how close to or how far you’re over your goal.
Now, don’t leave this screen just yet. At the top of the screen, tap the Nutrients button.
The Nutrients Selection
When you tap Nutrients, this page will pop up.
This page gives you a clearer picture of what’s going on with your food consumption in relation to your macros.
In my case, you see that I’ve eaten 23g of protein. Since my goal is 94g, I can eat another 71g throughout the day. This will allow me to judge what I can include on my menu for the rest of the day.
Carbs and fat are also displayed as are many other nutrients. Oops, you can see that I haven’t eaten any fiber yet. No worries. That will fill up later on in the day. Or, like today, I ate Barbara’s delicious broccoli frittata. I got some fiber there. Some mornings I’ll saute up some fresh spinach — there’s some fiber!
Remember, fiber can be subtracted from your carb totals to lower your theoretical carb intake. For example, one-half cup of kale has 3 g of carbs, but it also has 1g of fiber. Therefore, your total carbs would be 2g.
The forward and back arrows allow you to go back a day or forward a day. You can ignore these for now. You can also ignore the Calories button. We’re not really interested in calories.
Now, tap the X button at the top left of the screen, and you’ll be brought back to the Today (Add Food) page.
Adding Fractions Of A Food
The two foods I illustrated were pretty simple to input. Two eggs and 1 sausage are complete quantities. What do you do if you want to add a food by particular ounces?
Easy peasy! Okay, if I had a broccoli frittata this morning, I would want to include the ¼ cup of broccoli Barbara used to make it.
Let’s start from scratch. From the Home page tap the big blue circle with the plus sign, then tap the red circle that says food.
From the Select A Meal page, choose Breakfast. Now search for broccoli. When the list of broccoli comes up, choose Broccoli, raw. It will be listed as 1 cup chopped. That’s a problem. Barbara didn’t use one cup of broccoli. Now, what!?
Simply tap the Broccoli, raw button. The nutrient page for broccoli will appear. You’ll see there Serving Size and under that Number of Servings. Next, tap the Number of Servings. This page will appear.
From here you can set the serving as multiple cups or a fraction of a cup. Suppose Barbara used ? of a cup. I simply tap ?, then hit the check mark. That will set broccoli at ? of a cup. Then I tap the check mark at the top of the Add Food page and broccoli is added to my Today page.
Notice that broccoli was added as 0.1 cups and not ?. I guess MFP rounds down, but it’s close enough for me. Play around with the add food page, and you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly.
Editing Your Food Choices
Uh, oh. You added broccoli when you wanted to add kale. What do you do now!!!!
Sometimes you may add a food by mistake. For example, here I have some Trader Joe’s bacon that I want to remove.
To remove the bacon, all I have to do is hit edit at the top left of the screen, and it will allow you to delete any food.
Simply chose bacon and then hit the delete button at the top right, and bacon will be removed.
MFP Saves Your Food Choices
The above process seems like a lot of work, but it does get easier. One reason is that MFP keeps track of all the recent and frequent foods you’ve added. In other words, if you added scrambled eggs today, then that food will show up immediately in your recent food list.
As you add more foods, your list will grow. For example, when I want to add a food for any meal, this list will automatically pop up.
These are some of my Recent food choices. I can actually scroll down for many more choices. If I preferred, I could have tapped the Frequent button at the top of the screen, and it would have given me even more choices. All of these foods were added by me in the past.
If you add food using your computer, they will be automatically imported into the app.
Now, the beauty of this list is that you don’t have to constantly search for foods. Also, and this is a great feature, you can add multiple foods at once.
Adding Multiple Foods
Simply tap Multi-add at the bottom of the screen, and this page will pop up.
You simply check the food you want and then hit Add, and MFP will automatically add them to your food list for the day. How easy is that?
These are the basic steps for getting you going with the MFP app. There are some other features you can play around with. You can add your daily water consumption, keep a log of your exercise, and track your weight loss.
Okay, that’s about it. I hope this tutorial will be of help. I wish you well in your health and fitness journey.
We would love to hear your comments. Have a blessed and healthful week.
This article originally appeared on glutenfreehomestead.com.