How to Use the SuperTracker on ChooseMyPlate
If you're looking for an easy way to track your goals, nutrition, and activities for weight loss, the USDA's SuperTracker is a perfect tool to help you meet your goals. Please be sure to consult your physician before beginning any new diet or exercise regimen! This tutorial will walk you through how to set up your profile, how to adjust your goals, and how to navigate the website to view all of your SuperTracker statistics.
Create an account at the US government-run website.
- Hover over the drop down menu item labelled "Log in/Create Profile" and click "Create Profile" which will take you to the next page.
- On the "Create Your Profile" page, fill out all of your personal information as accurately as possible. Once complete, click the "Submit" button at the bottom of the page.
- Don't forget to enter a goal under the Height and Weight section. If you forget this step, the webpage will ask you to fill it in before you can proceed.
- After you've clicked "Submit" the website should bring you back to the SuperTracker Home Page that you started out on, but now you should see that you are logged in.
Verify all your information is accurate.Hover over your username and select "Manage Profile". The next screen will show your username in a small box near the middle of the screen. Click the "Edit Profile" button underneath that.
- This screen should look identical to the sign up screen you used originally.Verify that all of your information is correct.This part is especially important because it will influence the calorie suggestions and goals that the SuperTracker gives you.
- In the box labeled "Would you like your SuperTracker plan to help you?" there is a link to the National Institute of Health's Body Weight Planner. That link will help you decide on an appropriate weight and calorie goal if you need help. As with any diet modification, please consult your doctor before beginning a new diet.
- Scroll to the bottom to save any changes that you may have made to your profile.
Look over "My Plan" to see how your calories should be broken down..
- After the last step, you should have been returned to the SuperTracker home page. If not, just scroll to the top, and click on the "SuperTracker" in large text. That will take you back home.
- Hover your mouse over the "My Plan" drop down and then select "My Plan".
- Become familiar with this page. It gives you a breakdown of how much food you should be eating from each of the main food groups. It even provides examples if you're unfamiliar
- Print this page out or write down the suggested serving sizes so you have them available for quick reference.
Read some sample meal plans.
- Scroll back up towards the top of the page and hover over the "My Plan" drop down and click "Sample meal plans".
- Again, this is just another aid to help you plan your meals throughout a week. The sample meal plans promote variety which makes it much easier to stick to a diet.
Help determine your own personal guidelines in the My Features section of the page.
- Scroll to the top of the page and look for the My Features link and click it. It will bring you to a page called "My Top 5 Goals." Here you should see at least one goal that you entered when you created your profile. You'll notice that it is broken down into Weight Management, Physical Activity, Calories, Food Groups, and Nutrients. You can click on any of these tabs and alter the settings to match your personal goals. This will impact what you see over the rest of the site.
- Off to the right of the page there is a box labeled "My Coach Center." If you'd like, you can sign up for email reminders that will let you know how you're doing throughout the week and what you still need to do to meet your goals.
- While you're still in the My Features section, there is a link at the top labeled My Weight Manager. Click that link and it will bring you to a page where you can update your weight and see a graphical representation of how much weight you've lost.
- Right next to the Weight Manager link is another link for My Journal. If you click this link you can enter a food or activity and then write a note to yourself, describe your mood, explain why you chose a certain food. This is beneficial when you want to look back and find out why you missed your goal for the day, or why you did exceptionally well that day.
- Be sure to click Save at the bottom before navigating away from this page so you don't lose your journal entry!
Track your foods you take in with the Food Tracker.
- Scroll back to the top and hover over the "Track Food & Activity" drop down menu, and then select Food Tracker.
- On the food tracker page, if you scroll down just a little bit, you'll see a search bar. Type in whatever type of food you have eaten that day. Certain foods may be too specific (ex. Chicken Carbonara) so you might need to break it down into the individual ingredients used to make the dish instead of logging it as one item.
- After you've typed in a food you've eaten and selected one of the options from the drop down, you can go down to the Food Details box and edit how much of the food you had. When you are satisfied with your entry, you can click Add. After you click Add you should notice that the bar graphs and calorie counts on the page have re-populated with your item added, showing how much you've eaten out of your daily totals and how much remains. Repeat this step for all of the items you eat throughout the day.
Sort through your My Favorite Foods List.Scroll back to the top and hover over the "Track Food & Activity" drop down menu and select My Favorite Foods. Here, you can add any food that you eat frequently, and customize it to your liking so that you can add it to your Food Tracker much easier than adding each individual item. Use the "Create Combo" or "Create Recipe" buttons to add your specific items and then save them to your favorite foods. This will make tracking your meals much easier. The next two steps cover how to enter things in the My Combo and My Recipe sections.
Use the My Combo Feature.
- Scroll back to the top and hover over the "Track Food & Activity" drop down menu and select My Combo. From there, simply follow the directions at the top of the page labeled "Build Your Combo in 3 Easy Steps:" Save your favorite combinations to make tracking your food even easier.
- Build a recipe using the My Recipe feature.This is almost identical to the steps for using My Combo. Click on the link for My Recipe, and again follow the 3 easy steps on the screen to input your personal recipe. This will save you an abundance of time in the future if you plan to reuse a recipe during your diet.
Use the Physical Activity Tracker.
- Since physical activity is a large part of weight loss and overall fitness, there is a physical activity tracker built right into the website so you can track everything in one convenient place.
- Scroll back to the top and hover over the "Track Food & Activity" drop down menu and select Physical Activity Tracker.
- Once the page loads, you'll notice that the layout mimics the pages where you could enter food. This makes it nice and easy to track your activities. Enter your activities the same way you did for your food.
- You'll notice that as you save your activities, the charts to the right will begin to populate with your new data, showing you what you've accomplished today, this week, and how you compare to your goals.
- Always make sure you have added your activity before you navigate away from this page. To be sure your activity is saved, simply look at the middle of the page under where it says "Activities for the Week Of:" If you don't see your new activity listed next to today's date, go back and re-enter it and be sure to hit "ADD". When you see your activity on that list, you are free to navigate to other parts of the site.
Look for the My Favorite Activities list.Just like the My Favorite Foods List, the My Favorite Activities List allows you to enter an exercise you anticipate doing frequently to cut down on how much time you have to spend entering it. Simply click on the link for My Favorite Activities List near the top of the page, enter your activity on the next page, and then click Add to Favorite Activity List.
Read your reports about your progress in the My Reports section of the page.This feature allows you to view a number of different aspects of your diet and exercise plan, broken up into easy to read sections.
- Scroll up to the top of the page and find the link that says My Reports. This will bring you to a page that gives you 6 different options to view (Food Groups & Calories, Nutrients, Food Details, Meal Summary, Physical Activity, and History Charts).
- Click on any one of these icons and you will be brought to a page where it will ask you to what information you would like to view. Simply enter the date and the information you would like as the instructions tell you and then select Create Report.
- You now have a nice chart showing you calories burned/calories consumed/etc.
- In the top right of the report screen, you will also notice that you can export your report as a PDF, Excel file, or Word File in the event you would like to save the data to your home computer.
Track the nutritional guidelines or make a comparison of the foods you eat with their Food-A-Pedia database.With over 8,000 possible foods available in their data, there's little chance of having an item that isn't in their database. Select the "Food-a-Pedia" option from the drop-down list at the top of the page or do a quick lookup from the main SuperTracker website. Food-A-Pedia will allow you to compare foods to see which foods you can eat and still be on track for your daily value or within a diet.
- If you have any kind of specialized diet (i.e vegan, vegetarian, etc) you will have to make some adjustments to your meal plan. This website specifically follows the USDA's recommended diet, so you will need to adjust your diet accordingly.
- It seems that for some users, after creating a profile on the website, occasionally an error message will pop up preventing you from returning to your profile. To remedy this, simply close out your browser completely and then restart it. The website should now work. In addition, this error message seemed to primarily affect users who were working with Internet Explorer or Chrome. Firefox users did not report the same issue.
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