Logging Accurately..step by step guide

SezxyStef Posts: 15,268 Member
edited December 2022 in Health and Weight Loss
What does “Logging Accurately” mean???? *warning long post*

I have thought long and hard about this post as there have been a lot of discussions lately over logging accurately…that well have gotten a bit “heated”…

That phrase “logging accurately” doesn’t mean just weighing your solids and measuring your liquids there are things involved. It involves logging everything. Every bite, lick and taste…choosing correct entries from the MFP database, and therein lies a lot of the issues when it comes to “logging accurately”.

When someone looks at your diary (if you allow it) and sees entries that are in cups or inches or that start with homemade or generic the automatic assumption is that you don’t weigh your food. Why? Because your entries do not reflect it…and you can debate it all you want…if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it’s a duck…and by that I mean you are not logging accurately…you might weigh but you are not logging it accurately. You can’t weigh your chicken for 100g and log it as 1 cup or 1 breast as those calories probably don’t equate to the calories in 100g. You could be cheating yourself out of calories or underestimating calories, both of which are not good.

So in order to aid those new to this site or even those who aren’t new but are new to the kitchen scale, I thought this post might help.

*I will try to keep this short and sweet but in order to cover all aspects of logging it might get long…but no worries there are pictures….

Tabs when adding to your diary

As you can see by this screenshot you have a few tabs (Recent, Frequent, My Foods, Meals, Recipes) These are all useful and make logging accurately easier. You can save “meals” and add your own recipes which helps with logging accurately. My foods tab is where you have added your own data or edited an existing entry (to be covered later). Get familiar with the functions in your diary they are all there to help you be more accurate.


Searching for correct entries

As you search for correct entries it can be difficult to find them. The key for this is this…the actual name will be as you see in the screenshot, with nothing in front of the text…no words like Generic, homemade, or an asterisk.

Original 2014 Content:
The confirmations are there as well…this particular entry has 2177 confirmations…chances are it’s correct or you have 2177 people just being mean…highly unlikely.

Entries that are not correct typically do not have confirmations, Start with an asterisk (*), the words generic or homemade…the drop-down menu will not have very many options if any at all…note here in the screenshot no confirmations…and has odd serving sizes…3.9oz???


2022 Content: Correct entries have a green verified checkmark next to them.


Note here the words “GENERIC” and “HOMEMADE”…Homemade could be anything these you do not want to use ever….ever…..ever.


Checking nutritional data

This area of the entry can be seen by clicking the blue text “nutritional data” as seen in the screenshot above right below the confirmations. This is the only way to ensure the entry you are using is correct. When you click that link you are brought to a page like this….


As you can see there is a drop-down menu for servings, and with this entry, there are multiple servings available…my personal favorites are the ones in 100g (makes entering the serving size of weighed food so much easier) and here you can see the text “Is this data correct?” with buttons to confirm, deny or say you don’t know. If it is correct based on your package etc. click yes…it is important that the confirmations are done to ensure others know it’s correct too. If you know it’s not correct you can click “NO”.

Now you can edit this entry. I do this quite frequently as I often cannot find an entry for items that do not have the words Generic and homemade or an asterisk in front of them. When you do this, it now shows up in the tab (mentioned in the first paragraph) “MY FOODS”

Edit to Existing Entries

After clicking “Edit” this screen pops up.


You can change anything you want here. The Brand/Restaurant, Description, nutrition facts, serving size, etc. so that it is correct based on what you see on the package/website. *I often will end the description with my initials SCW so I know that it is my entry when searching in the database*

After you have done all that ensure you go to the bottom and explain the changes. I often just type per pkg. or per website, then click save.

Finding correct nutrition without a package

This too can be daunting at first. Google is your friend. Websites for the restaurants can often be found, and if you are lucky you can “build” your meal and get the exact calorie content which can then be added to the MFP database as described above. Or if it is at home google “Calories in ________________” and often times this will be displayed (I used chicken for this screenshot)


As you can see there is an area in the top left-hand side along with information along the right-hand side. The source for this data is the USDA website. You can see that below the larger box with 306 calories and if you click that link you are taken directly to the USDA website for that food.

If however, you wish to just go to that site and search for your food here is the link


Another good site for information is


The only other things to note about logging accurately are as follows:

Ensure the entry you chose reflects cooked or uncooked depending on when you weighed the food. I personally cannot weigh uncooked as I cook for 3 typically so I search for items that indicate “cooked” and how it was cooked…broiled grilled panfried etc. This is doubly important for pasta, rice, and potatoes.

As well ensure that the entry reflects what you are eating. If you are eating chicken breast meat log chicken breast meat, if you are eating baked potatoes, log baked potatoes not boiled/fried, etc.

In conclusion, logging accurately is one of the most important keys to keeping in goal with calories, therefore, losing weight. It may seem silly or a lot of work to weigh your food, spend a couple of minutes looking for the correct entry, and if you can’t find it go through the trouble of making one…but in the end, if you don’t you are only cheating yourself. Once the work is done (esp for frequently eaten foods) it’s done and you just have to go to your entry and use it as you know it’s correct.

I hope this helps at least one person…

PS if I have missed anything please feel free to add it in…the goal here is to help as much as possible.


  • katro111
    katro111 Posts: 632 Member
    Very helpful! I've been using MFP for a while and didn't realize you could edit food entries and they'd pop into the My Foods tab (I was adding a whole new entry based on a food package just so I could get an entry with an accurate weight or I would weigh my food and give up on finding an entry with a weight in ounces or grams and just use the asterisk entry as long if the weight of my food matched the calorie content on the entry).
  • FrustratedYoYoer
    FrustratedYoYoer Posts: 274 Member
    Great post, I'm sure this will help a lot of people. I weigh pretty much everything and/or look up the nutritional content - it's just natural to me now.
  • madhatter2013
    madhatter2013 Posts: 1,547 Member
    I always love your posts. You're my mentor.
  • Pirate_chick
    Pirate_chick Posts: 1,216 Member
    great post. I keep all of my homemade entries to myself. lol.
  • PunkyDucky
    PunkyDucky Posts: 283 Member
    Bumpity bump bump
    ...to read later. :drinker:
  • kellylee6887
    kellylee6887 Posts: 17 Member
    Thanks for this awesome post. Very helpful.
  • diannethegeek
    diannethegeek Posts: 14,776 Member
  • lenksa77920
    lenksa77920 Posts: 5 Member
    Thanks for this, it's very helpful. I'm trying hard to be more accurate with logging. Just a question, how do you measure the licks, bites, tastes etc? That's one area where I know I could do better but I just can't wrap my head around how to do it.
  • KimberDG9966
    KimberDG9966 Posts: 27 Member
    Tagging for reference.

    Thank you for posting :smile:
  • If I could hug you for this I would! This is exactly what I needed! :drinker: :drinker:
  • ninav1980
    ninav1980 Posts: 514 Member
    bumpity bump
  • zoemcquaid
    zoemcquaid Posts: 34 Member
  • jrhanna84
    jrhanna84 Posts: 66 Member
    Saving for the AWESOME!