Over the years I’ve used a few different apps for tracking my food, but the one I keep going back to is MyFitnessPal. I definitely think it is the best calorie counting app out of all the ones I’ve tried.
If you’re looking for an app (or website) to log your food intake, I totally recommend you give it a try. It offers the most comprehensive food database and has more free features than any other app I’ve used.
While there is a premium version, MyFitnessPal offers so many free features the vast majority of people won’t find a need to upgrade.
While I always recommend MFP if someone asks about how to get started tracking their calories, I’m trying something new and this is the app I currently track with.
Reasons why I like MyFitnessPal the best
It has a database of over 11 million foods…
They have an extremely large food database – I’ve literally never had a problem either finding food in their system or getting the nutritional data to pop up when I scan the barcode.
When I used other apps like Loseit or Noom, I was constantly running into issues with not being able to find food within the system. And on multiple occasions when I tracked with Noom, I couldn’t even get certain food to show up when I scanned the barcode! It was really frustrating.
Although something you do need to be careful about when you search for food within MFP’s database is that many foods have multiple entries and oftentimes, it’s just incorrect. This is because MyFitnessPal allows users to add food to their database and I don’t think anyone actually verifies it.
When I’m in doubt, I just scan the barcode to get the correct nutritional info.
You can save all your foods and meals
This makes it extremely easy to log food after you’ve used the app for a little while because you can save all the foods you log (and it also automatically remembers them).
I tend to eat the same foods a lot, so tracking after a couple of weeks is incredibly easy because I can easily just tap foods from my history or saved list and it takes only a second.
You can also save entire meals – if you typically eat 2 eggs, a piece of toast and a slice of bacon for breakfast, you can save that as a meal and every time you eat it, just tap the button and it’ll automatically log it.
It’s definitely tedious when you’re first starting out and trying to look up each food in the database (or scanning the barcodes for particular items), but after you use it for a little while it’s much easier because the majority of the time you can just tap these foods from the history or your save lists to log them.
You can build your own recipes
Many of the foods I eat are recipes I make myself, so the ability to log the entire recipe on MyFitnessPal with the individual ingredients I use (plus create the serving size) is an extremely handy feature. This lets me much more accurately track calories for recipes instead of just guessing, and is much easier than trying to track every component of the recipe into my food log.
You can create and edit recipes as much as you want.
Realistically, if you eat at home you probably are cooking meals. This feature will make your life SO much easier when you’re trying to track calories and nutrient data from meals you cook at home.
You can track macronutrient and micronutrient data
Something that is nice about MyFitnessPal is that it goes beyond calories and keeps track of your macronutrients (carbs, fat and protein) and your micronutrients (saturated, polyunsaturated, and monosaturated fats, cholesterol, sodium, fiber, sugar, vitamins) – for entirely free. Other apps, like Loseit, include this as well, but only as a premium feature.
It automatically sets target ratios for you, but you can go in and edit them even in the free version. If you want to set your goals to grams (instead of ratios) or customize it for each day of the week, you would need to upgrade.
You can even go in and edit your goals for the micronutrients as well if you are trying to follow a diet that is lower in sodium, sugar or cholesterol, for example.
Something else that is cool about the MFP app is the social aspect. You have your own profile you can fill out with pictures and personal info, and also add friends you can connect with through your account. You’ll then have access to a newsfeed that’s similar to Facebook, where you can keep up with your friend’s progress and encourage each other.
You can set your diary to private if you don’t want others creeping on your food choices and shaming you (which is what I do!).
You also can use the app pretty anonymously as well, you don’t have to add any friends or anything if that part doesn’t interest you.
Another aspect is the forums – they have quite extensive and active online forums if you want to get advice or encouragement from others.
Keeps track of your progress
You can keep track of your weight and measurements within the app, and it will store the data and keep track of your progress over time. This lets you go back and run cool reports to show your progress.
I don’t know why but I find stuff like this really cool, which is why I also really enjoy using my Fitbit and analyzing all the data!
Syncs with tons of fitness apps!
I really like that I can sync my Fitbit to the MyFitnessPal app and have it automatically adjust my calorie data for a more accurate estimate of what I burn in a day.
Of course it’s never going to be exact, but I think it gets closer than just setting to “sedentary, lightly active, active” because there are so many varying degrees of what people consider those things to mean.
Now, I do want to mention that if my Fitbit data adds an extra 900 calories or something, I usually don’t eat them, but it’s almost sort of satisfying for me to see that data – it’s like a sense of accomplishment.
If you use an activity tracker, or another health app to track your steps and activity, there’s a good chance you can sync with MFP!
Ability to track on a computer
Although the app makes tracking pretty easy, you can also track your food from a computer as well. Sometimes that’s easier for me, so I like having the option to do it from both my computer and my phone.
One of the things I hated about using Noom was it was ONLY an app! Just because I have a smartphone and can use apps doesn’t mean I don’t want to use my laptop anymore! But maybe that’s just me…
If you’re looking for an entirely free way to keep track of your calories that’s easy to use, MyFitnessPal is a great option
While there are tons of other food tracking apps out there, I’ve never found a free one that I like as much as MyFitnessPal. I always recommend it whenever people ask me how to get started counting calories or tracking their food intake.
While I currently follow the WW Freestyle program and track with their app (which you can read about here) I started my journey with the free version of MFP and have used it several times in the past.
If you’re looking for extra motivation for weight loss, feel free to read all about my Healthywager bet and the program here.