Meats, Fish, Poultry
Let’s try to make it a rule to use USDA entries for proteins. Look for entries that specify cut of meat (sirloin, rib-eye, ground chuck, or fat % of ground beef). Beef and pork cuts run the gamut. There are cuts of beef that are extremely lean (ie tenderloin, top sirloin, and flank) and those that are extremely fat (beef short ribs, ribeye, chuck roast). Same with pork, lean cuts include tenderloin, center cut loin chops and sirloin. Fattier cuts include spare ribs (which in turn are much fattier than baby back ribs), pork shoulder and
Utilize whether the weight is raw or cooked. If you use cooked protein, search for "cooked __________ usda". Unless of course you are cooking a single piece and eating that entire piece. For instance, if you weigh a piece of chicken breast raw, and eat that whole piece (after you cook it, of course), enter it in as raw. If you are making a huge batch for your weekly meal prep, take a cooked piece, weight it, then enter the weight for ‘cooked chicken breast usda’. Chicken loses about 40% of its weight in cooking, breast and thighs alike. Make sure you are choosing boneless, skinless entries when applicable. It is more accurate to take the meat off the bones if you are cooking it with bones, and weight it then, as bones will have different densities and weights depending upon the animal.
Grains, fruits, vegetables
Grains can be entered as raw or dry, or cooked. For instance, if you are making a batch of oatmeal, take a portion of the cooked product, weigh it, then enter that weight for “cooked oatmeal”. Similarly, if you are making a single serving, weight the oats out raw, use the measurement for "dry oats", cook, and enjoy! Use the brand of oats you bought. Rice is the same. If you are making a big batch of white rice, just scoop out your cooked rice onto the scale, and enter that weight into your tracker as "cooked white rice usda". Same goes for barley, pasta, quinoa etc. Please note that the packaging always expresses the dry weights and nutrition info.
If you can find an entry in your diary tracker that has both volume and weight options in the pull-down menu for serving size, you've hit the jackpot: not because you want to use volume, but because it actually means those kinds of entries are created from the USDA database. User-generated entries do not list both 100 g and 1 cup chopped as options for serving size.
Fruits should be weighed raw and entered with their corresponding "USDA" entry. vegetables can be entered as raw or cooked depending.
Composed recipes that involves multiple items should be entered into the recipe builder, and all weights entered raw.
Alcohol is its own “macro” so we log it a bit differently. It is treated like an expensive carb. If you search for “shebnation client” in your tracking diary, you will see a variety of options and portions for various drinks. Pick your poison! Remember, any mixers would be in addition so if you are having cocktails, not only account for the spirit but any macros in fruit juices etc. Otherwise, if you know the calories of your drink, divide by 4 and log the result to carbs (IE 140 calorie drink, 35 grams carbs). This goes for ANY AND ALL ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES, EVEN HARD CIDERS AND SELTZERS.