When it comes to healthy eating and lifestyle the most effective tool you need is a good self-monitoring method. One great App that I have come to love is eaTracker. Here is breakdown of the features of this app and how you can use it to start tracking your health goals right away!
eaTracker is a self-monitoring approach to help individuals’ live balanced lifestyles, generated by the Dietitians of Canada. It is used to track everyday food intake as well as daily physical activity. It is used to guide individuals to reach their fitness goals through maintaining a balanced diet and physical activity level. eaTracker is free service which you can use on your computer or download it as an app on your smart phone. This way you can input your food intake and physical activity throughout the day and look at your progress as you go. This is great eye-opening tool because it tells you exactly how many calories you’re eating, what nutrients you’re consuming and how much. It also shows you what nutrients you’re lacking in your everyday life compelling you to make some important changes in your everyday diet.
Key features of eaTracker:
eaTracker consists of many important features including:
1) My Goals
In this tab users are allowed to enter their desired goals. They can either set specific goals for themselves or use “ready-made goals”. Ready-made goals include broad goals such as “I want to eat more fruit and vegetables” and then they goes into more specific and measurable goals which outlines how many serving of fruits and vegetables you want to consume every day this week for example. These goals help guide your daily food intake and activity level.
2) Daily Menu
In this tab users enter their food intake for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. You can search the food in the search bar and choose the option closest to what you actually ate. If you want a more precise food entry you can enter your own recipes with all the ingredients and the eaTracker will calculate the individual nutrient breakdown for you. The nutrient breakdown in the eaTracker includes calories, fat, protein, carbohydrates, vegetables/fruits, grain products, milk/alternatives, meat/ alternatives. This breakdown helps individual’s assess their daily food intake, what they are meeting the requirements for and what they are lacking.
3) Activity log
In this tab users can enter their physical activities throughout the day. It can be as simple as going for a walk for 20 minutes to vigorous strength training for 30 minutes. After the type and duration of activity is added, eaTracker classifies the type of activity as low, moderate or high effort and displays an estimated number of calories you burned. Users can use this feature to see how physically active they are and how little efforts to be active can majorly contribute to improving overall health.
4) My Coach
This feature allows users to receive professional assistance from a registered dietitian with a personalized approach. You can add your registered dietitian (or me at email@example.com) as your coach. Where you can receive additional guidance and personalized tips to eating healthy and reaching your fitness goals. This will allow you to get results more easily because the dietitian would not be enforcing meal plans where they decide everything you are supposed to eat. Rather this will be individuals themselves taking accountability and making their own food choices and the dietitian is there to give suggestions and recommendations that you can easily add into your day-to-day life.
The Pros of eaTracker:
- eaTracker can be used by people of different activity levels and for both genders. Individuals starting from 14 years and up can use this tool, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women can benefit from it.
- Allows you to keep track of your food intake and daily calories
- Shows you a breakdown of all essential nutrients and whether you are meeting the requirements
- Helps you keep track of your physical activity level
- Even simple daily activities
- Adds up total calories burned throughout the day and total calories consumed
- Classifies whether physical activity you are doing is light, moderate or intense
- You can receive guidance from a registered dietitian to help you reach your fitness goals.
The Cons of eaTracker:
- Users need to add in their food intake and each meal into the system
- Sometimes the food search does not include the exact item you consumed. Thus it can misrepresent the food intake on the nutrient breakdown
- Can be demotivating if you are not reaching your goals (this can also mean you are setting unrealistic or too high of goal)
- Users need to add their activities throughout the day in order to receive an accurate estimate of total calories burned.
How to use eaTracker – step by step (for beginners)
- Enter your basic information including sex, age, height, weight and physical activity level
- Enter specific goals you have. Be sure they are measurable and realistic within the time frame
- Starting inputting your food intakes for each meal: breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Input your daily physical activity from anything as basic as going grocery shopping to doing a treadmill run. Be sure to add in the time in minutes for how long each activity lasted
- Input your own recipes if you find eaTracker doesn’t have what you are eating on a daily basis – make sure to save the recipe
- Favourite the foods and activities you find you are doing on a daily basis to make it easier to input data
- Learn how your Registered Dietitian can coach you and help you reach your fitness goals faster and make them long-term.