Another year, another chance to improve your health. Making lasting change isn’t easy, which is why so many people fall off their New Year’s resolutions by February. But with some guidance and a little easy-to-use technology via the MyFitnessPal app, you can stick to your nutrition and fitness goals.
Below are 10 tips and tricks to get the most out of MyFitnessPal, courtesy of Stephanie Nelson, MS, RD, MyFitnessPal’s in-house nutrition expert.
It’s important to hit protein and fiber goals each day, says Nelson, as both help make you feel full and satisfied in addition to providing great health benefits. Make that easier by checking out your personal nutrition screen, where you can see your daily and weekly stats. “Some days, it will be difficult to hit your goals due to traveling or work, so just try to keep your weekly picture looking good.”
This free feature shows you recipes in collections based on your goals. For example, immune support recipes are loaded with cruciferous vegetables that promote gut health and fight inflammation. You can also view pre- and post-workout recipes, vegetarian recipes, high-protein recipes and more. If you make one of the recipes, you can log it directly in the app.
If nutrition tracking begins to feel tedious, take a shortcut by saving your favorite meals. Eat the same breakfast every day? Have a Tuesday night go-to? Save it in the app for easy tracking later. Then, rather than adding each ingredient one by one, you can add the meal with one click.
“Custom plans contain hand-picked recipes that are customized to your specific calorie goals,” says Nelson. Those recipes are measured to meet your calorie and protein needs, and you can personalize things further by swapping out recipes and saving the ones you like best. This is a premium feature, but a free trial is available.
Nelson says most people should aim for a minimum of 20 grams of protein per meal, but this number varies by gender, weight and body type. “It’s super easy to set and track that goal with a premium membership. You can track macros by meal and see your daily macros and your daily average.” She adds that this is also helpful for adhering to other eating plans. For instance, those who are diabetic can easily track carbohydrates.
The MyFitnessPal app can track your steps throughout the day or while you work out. “It even connects to your other devices,” says Nelson, “so if you have one you like to use, it will connect to MyFitnessPal and directly import your stats into the app. It’s a great way to be more active throughout the day, and it will encourage you as you near your steps goal.”
Premium memberships can utilize workout collections, which serve as inspiration and motivation when you’re not sure where to start. “There are lots of great workouts you can do, and many can be done at home,” says Nelson. Complete a workout, and it will be logged directly into your exercise diary.
Nelson likes this feature for saving time in the app. Simply hit the menu, and you’ll see a “copy from date” feature that lets you copy a meal from the day before. “This is perfect for inputting your leftovers from the prior night, or if you have the same thing for breakfast each day, you can immediately copy that over,” she says.
Many MyFitnessPal users are active in the forums, especially those who have been using the app the longest. If you have questions about how to use the app or what diet and fitness habits have worked for others, you can find those answers in the forums. “It’s like a free tutorial on the best ways to use MyFitnessPal,” says Nelson.
MyFitnessPal is not just for tracking calories and nutrients in isolation — it gives you a bigger picture of your habits and can help you learn how food affects you. “Notice how you feel depending on what you eat,” suggests Nelson. “Making that connection can be more impactful than what you see on the scale.”
There’s never a bad time to try MyFitnessPal, but if you need a push, let it assist with your New Year’s resolutions. Between all of the app’s features, from food and fitness tracking to recipes and forums, it has a lot to offer. The above tips and tricks provide a head start.