Today’s blog is all about how to use the Easy Diet Diary app to get the most from your nutrition consult with myself, or perhaps one of the other awesome dietitians here at Newtown Nutrition.
If your nutrition and wellness goals are to eat more healthily, achieve nutritional adequacy or reversing symptoms or diseases related to imbalanced nutrition (for example low energy from inadequate iron intake or high blood pressure from too much salt/sodium), then you would benefit from a professional nutritional analysis of your diet.
This includes detailed data about the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) you are getting (and not getting) from your current diet as well as your macronutrient ranges: percentage of your daily energy from fat, protein or carbohydrates.
So many of my clients who use the Easy Diet Diary app find that it is really helpful, and I’m finding that it helps them achieve their nutritional goals so much faster.
Easy Diet Diary is:
- Sophisticated, gold class software – it’s quality people!
- 100% evidence based – no pseudo-science
- Tailored to Aussie soils and foods/drinks – because we are not Britain or the USA
- Takes out the guess work
- Personalised to YOUR unique needs
- Can help me help you get rid of unwanted symptoms like fatigue, brain fog or inflammation among others so you can be the healthiest most vibrant version of you.
What is Easy Diet Diary?
The Easy Diet Diary app lets you easily and effortlessness log what you eat and drink over the day and then send this record to your dietitian (that’s me!). Or you could also just use the info for your own personal reflections and keeping on track with your goals.
However what makes this app truly stand out from the HUNDREDS of other food recording apps and programs is that Easy Diet Diary is the ONLY app that syncs with a practitioner-based software called Xyris Foodworks (I explain more about this at the bottom of this page).
This software allows me to accurately complete a nutrition analysis of your current diet and help identify factors that may be causing unwanted symptoms like fatigue, hair loss or low mood. I can also use the software to actually show and teach you simple food swaps or additions that can make your diet more health promoting and nutritionally complete! Hoorah!
To complete the Foodworks Nutrition Analysis I need you to email your food diary to me at least 1 day prior to your next consult using the Easy Diet Diary app or website. Keep on reading for more details
What does a Nutrition Analysis of your Diet Involve?
Once you have completed your detailed food diary and emailed it to me (see below for step by step on how to do this) I will import the data to my Nutritional Analysis software where the real magic happens.
This includes detailed data about the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) you are getting (and not getting) from your current diet and your macronutrient ranges: percentage of your daily energy from fat, protein or carbohydrates.
To do this, I use the Foodworks software in our Newtown Nutrition clinic to show how close your current diet is to meeting the recommended RDIs* and AIs** for nutrients.
*Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI): The average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97–98 per cent) healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group.
**Adequate Intake (AI) – used when an RDI cannot be determined: The average daily nutrient intake level based on observed or experimentally-determined approximations or estimates of nutrient intake by a group (or groups) of apparently healthy people that are assumed to be adequate.
Why is Nutritional Analysis useful?
Your body needs micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) from the foods you eat for a range of different bodily processes. So if you are lacking or deficient in one or many nutrients this often causes unwanted symptoms including fatigue, food cravings, low immune system, impaired bone, eye or brain health, brittle skin or nails, hair loss, easy bruising, insomnia or even mood or hormone imbalances such as depression, anxiety, mood swings or irritability.
Ain’t nobody got time for that! Let’s be honest!!
I can also use the software to calculate your average energy or calorie intake from the foods you eat. This can be used to shift your weight up or down if desired, or just maintain where you’re at now – in line with the wellness goals we discuss in our consults.
Remember everyone is different! So at Newtown Nutrition we also offer non-diet or weight neutral approaches to healthy eating too! Mind-Body harmony and wellness is the key priority!
Finally, I can look at your macronutrient ranges: how much of your daily energy is coming from fat, protein, carbohydrates and the types of these. If appropriate, I can then show you how to adjust these ranges to improve your energy levels, reverse chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease or improve sports and exercise performance or muscle growth.
My goal is to empower you in our sessions so you can transform from a wellness WORRIER to a wellness WARRIOR. Giving you the tools and education so YOU can make the shifts needed for sustainable, lifelong vitality.
What is Easy Diet Diary?
Now to the part you came to this blog for.
If you’re tech illiterate like me or fancy apps just aren’t your thing, then not to worry!
Using Easy Diet Diary is a breeze once you get used to it.
To help you get started, please watch the video below for a friendly yet comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to use Easy Diet Diary.
Note: No, I haven’t suddenly turned into a man with a British accent, so it’s not actually me in the video. But the voice over is from a health professional who uses the app in the same way I would. So same-same.
Video credit Jack Bilby from Motiv Fitness, Adelaide SA.
Find out more about them here
How can I access Easy Diet Diary?
Easy diet diary is an app you can download on your phone or smart device (iPad, iPod Touch, Tablet etc). Best of all, it’s totally free! Praise!!
How can I use Easy Diet Diary to log my food intake?
What is my energy goal?
When you login to your Easy Diet Diary app for the first time it will prompt you to add some details about yourself.
If you are wanting to change your weight (lose weight or gain weight) I will calculate your energy requirements/goal in your consult. This takes into account your height, weight, PAL (physical activity level) and weight goals. If you are completing your food diary before you have seen me in a consult add in your height and weight and we will discuss suitable goals for you in your consultation.
Please note: Choosing calorie/kilojoule goals is not mandatory. Not everyone who sees me will need or benefit from a weight focused approach. So if we determine that this does not seem relevant to your goals or is hindering your wellbeing then feel free to ignore this section.
Adding a food
Step 1. Click the “+” symbol to add a food into breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks
Step 2. Add your food or ingredient. You can add a new food in two different ways:
Search the food. You can do this by:
- Type the food into the search bar at the top. It is best to be specific with brands, variety, colours e.g. Rolled Oats vs Quick Oats or Uncle Tobys Oats Vs Woolworths Homebrand Oats where possible.
- Scroll through the alphabetical list until you find the food e.g. ‘O’ for oats
- Search recent foods if you logged the food within the past week
- Search my foods if you have manually added in a food previously: more details below
- Recipes: Search for a recipe you have already recorded and are eating a portion or left overs.
If you have the food packet in front of you, you can also simply just take a photo of the barcode and the system should find the items details.
Note: you will need to “enable camera access” when prompted
Step 3. If you are adding a food manually, the app will prompt you about the specific details of how the food was eaten to take into account the nutrients.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- cooking method: how it’s cooked or if eaten raw
- if skin is on/off e.g fruit or vegetables
- added foods: additional flavourings, cooking fats, milks, salt or water for example
- tinned vs dried products e.g. beans
- food fortification: added nutrients which will be listed on the label or ingredients list e.g. calcium, folate or iron
Recording how much
Step 4. Record how much of the food you ate during the meal. Accurate quantities are essential for nutritional analysis to be useful.
NOTE IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOU BE AS ACCURATE & SPECIFIC AS YOU CAN
See below for Top Tips on how to measure foods. Please don’t just guestimate!!
Step 5. Add the food. Then repeat steps 1-5 for all foods eaten at that meal or snack.
Step 6. To view the food, click into the meal (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner or Snack). You can edit the foods at any time by clicking “edit” in the top right hand corner, selecting the food and then you can:
- delete: if there’s an error or double up
- move: if you want to move the food/s to another meal i.e. from breakfast to snack
- copy: if you had the same food/s for several meals or snacks
- recipe: if you want to create a recipe using that food selected
Recording a recipe in Easy Diet Diary
The RECIPE option is perfect if you
- make a big batch of a food and share it between your friends/family members or across several meals/days
- Have a mixed dish like a curry or smoothie you want to keep a record of and not re-write every time you eat
How to record a Recipe
- Simply record the recipe ingredients and how much of them went into the total amount prepared.
- Write either how many serves this makes OR that it yields 100%. This way you can record how many serves OR the percentage of it YOU ate.
For example, if you made a lasagne and it fed 4 people for 2 nights and you ate 1 serve each night. Record everything and how much went into the lasagne and either record as 100% or as 8 serves.
Then each time you ate it, that was either “1 serve” or 12.5% (1/8th).
My Foods in Easy Diet Diary
The My Foods feature can be used if the food is not found in the Easy Diet Diary database.
You can manually input information about the food using the nutrition information panel or the ingredients list on the packet, then saves it for future logging.
To do this, after selecting a meal, click on ‘My Foods’ on the top bar.
- Enter the name
- Enter the serving size in grams for food or mL for liquids
- Add energy (kJ is better than calories/Cal)
- Add as much information from the nutritional information panel as possible. Aim to fill out all the macronutrients and micronutrients PER SERVE.
- Click ‘Done’ to save your future.
- When adding to your diary, check how many serves you eat as it may be more or less than a whole serve according to the weight listed on the packet.
Note: please ensure you are using the PER SERVE column of information and not the PER 100g.
If calcium or dietary fibre is not listed, then type ‘0’.
Recording your exercise in Easy Diet Diary
You don’t have to add in daily movement or exercise in order for me to complete a nutritional analysis of your diet. The energy goal I provide you will take into account your PAL (physical activity level).
However, you may choose to log movement to get a better understanding of whether what you eat across the day is in line with your daily energy/calorie needs. Or just to track if you’re meeting your personal movement goals.
Why is this helpful?
When you engage in exercise or movement it burns calories or energy. This increases your daily energy/calorie needs, required to maintain your current weight. So if you are looking to maintain your current weight you ideally want to be meeting (or close to) your daily calorie needs-taking into account the calories burnt whilst exercising.
Alternatively, if you are looking to gain weight or muscle mass then you want to exceed your daily calorie needs by 5-10%; roughly 2000-4000 kJ or 250-500kcal.
Conversely, if you are looking to release weight then you want to reduce your daily calorie intake from the foods you eat to 5-10%: 2000-4000kJ or 250-500kcal below your daily needs.
How do I send my Easy Diet Diary to my dietitian?
So you’ve logged your food diary. Great work!
Next step is to get it to me to do the analysis and translate it into practical tips.
To do this:
- Click the “More” or “…” button on the right bottom panel of the app
- Click “Settings”
- Click “Email Diary to Your Dietitian”
- Select “Last 7 Days”, no matter how many days you have logged
- An email will autogenerate:
- type the following addressing into the “To: “:
- Add “ATTN AMBER SEWELL-GREEN FOOD DIARY” into the subject bar
- Press “Send” in the top right corner
And that’s it!! Your part is complete!
Please do this at least 1 day before your consult with me so I have time to do the data tweaks and analysis part!
How is the Nutritional data analysed?
I import your Easy Diet Diary into Foodworks, a professional nutritional analysis tool.
Foodworks is a comprehensive database of millions of Australia foods that have been rigorously analysed for their nutrition composition based on Australian soil levels.
This Foodworks software is the Gold Standard of nutrition analysis used only by accredited trained health care professionals and food industry workers in Australia and New Zealand. This software is not available to the public as you require a licence and registration to own the software.
At Newtown Nutrition we regularly update our Foodworks software to the latest edition so you can get the best and most accurate analysis of your nutrition intake.
Other food diary apps are typically based on American or British soil levels and foods as well as that countries nutrient targets based on their health data. Thus they often provide an inaccurate picture of how much nutrition you are actually get from the foods you have eaten and logged.
For example the USA has very little iron and zinc in its soils. So if you are using an American food diary app and log 2 cups of leafy greens such as silverbeet, it may suggest that meal contains little to no iron and you are failing to meet the daily targets. This is incorrect, in fact 2 cups of silverbeet from Austalia provides roughly 6mg of iron: 33% of daily needs for adult women and 75% of the daily needs for adult men. So you would be well on your way to meeting the daily RDI for Australians.
Top Tips for using Easy Diet Diary
It is REALLY IMPORTANT that you accurately gauge how much of the food you ate at that meal or snack so the app correctly tracks how much nutrients your body is getting.
Please DO NOT just rely on default serves or guestimate
The best ways to measure foods are
- Using standardized metric measuring cups (1/4, 1/3, ½, ¾ or 1 cup measures)
- Using standardized metric teaspoons and tablespoons (note 1 tablespoon= 4 teaspoons)
- Measure the food in grams (grams is the same as mL’s) using accurate scales
- Only record the foods you eat, deduct any left overs (you can be specific and weigh these too)
Image: Monserat Solis
At the top of the screen you will see the nutrient breakdown including calories, macronutrients and the micronutrients sodium and calcium. Any other micronutrients (such as iron) can only be analysed via the Foodworks software and an experienced dietitian (such as myself) in a consult.
If you click on the nutrient breakdown you can see how much is coming from the individual foods you eat or the whole meal so you can become savvy about what foods contain what nutrients.
Sodium may be helpful for those watching their blood pressure
Calcium may be helpful for those conscious of bone health
Carbohydrates may be helpful for those with diabetes or insulin resistance
Total and saturated fat may be helpful for those with heart disease or metabolic syndrome
Protein may be helpful for those with low appetite or food intake, or during times of growth (children or pregnant women) or active muscle gain
If something out of the ordinary happens or there’s an element of your food diary that’s difficult to record but may affect the analysis then not to worry!
The “Notes” section, is the perfect place to jot it down. And it will be added to the email I received when you send your completed diary log.
This is location on the main “+” page where you log meals, underneath “Snacks and Drinks”.
Simply go into notes and type whatever you feel is important that I know. For example
- Skipped breakfast today and had coffee instead
- Lunch out with co-workers, did my best to remember
- Brand of soup not found, but was organic, no added salt
- Only logged Monday, Tuesday and Friday this week
How many meals should I add?
This is really important!
If you’re tracking data for me to do a nutrition analysis of your diet then I need you to add everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) you ate on those consecutive days. Please don’t skip logging any meals or snacks or else it will skew the data.
This is because the data will be an average of all the nutrients and calories you ate over the number of days recorded. So if you forget to log breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks for 1 or more days then this will be deducted from your total daily average intake your nutrients or calories.
You can see which days you have logged data into by clicking “Today” at the top of the home screen. This will show a drop down calendar for the month. All days with a black dot ‘.’ are the days with food or drink data entered into them.
If you’re tracking for your own habits, goals or record keeping then you can add as much or as little data as you like.
What if I eat out or don’t know what’s in my meal?
Image: Jonathan Andrew
Eating out or having meals prepared by friends or family is a normal and important part of life and an awesome way to be social and experience new things.
I do not expect that you live under a rock or make 100% of your food from scratch all day every day.
But it can very be tricky to record what you ate or drank if someone else made it. So if this happens either ask the personal who made it to jot down what was in it, or more realistically do your best to log what you think was in it.
Easy Diet Diary does offer options of generic meals you can select such as “Tofu and Vegetable Curry” for example. Just try to add any extra distinguishing features served with it such as extra sides of salads, dressings, garnishes, cooking oils/fats or starchy foods such as rice, breads or pastas.
You may also be able to find similar brands of cuisines or meals. For example with the Tofu Curry, there’s a brand called “Simply Better Foods Vegie Tofu Cuisines Red Lentil Curry” that may be similar to what you ate.
Important: if this happens, simply write it down in the “Notes” section of the main home screen.
For more about the Easy Diet Diary check the Easy Diet Diary website.
That’s a wrap
Hundreds of my clients who use the Easy Diet Diary app find that it is really helpful, and I’m finding that it helps them achieve their nutritional goals so much faster.
- It’s sophisticated, gold class software-quality people
- It’s 100% evidence based-no pseudo-science
- It’s tailored to Ozzie soils and foods/drinks-because we are not Britain or the USA
- It takes out the guess work
- It’s personalised to YOUR unique needs
- It can help me help you get rid of unwanted symptoms like fatigue, brain fog or inflammation among others so you can be the healthiest most vibrant version of you.
And this is why I love my job so much!
That’s all for today.
If you’d like to learn more about you can improve your nutritional intake and eating habits with strategies that are relevant for you, download Easy Diet Diary now and book in for a comprehensive nutritional analysis.
I am available for consultations in our Newtown clinic or via Skype if you’re further away.
I hope that this blog can help you too towards the healthiest and most vibrant version of you.
X Best Wishes
Plant Based Dietitian-Nutritionist