I've looked at over half a dozen applications in the past, they were all too hard and did not yield enough useful data for all the hassle. This led me to develop a printed form for tracking my calories, carbs and protein intake. Sadly the printed form took a lot of manual work.
The Cronometer (at www.cronometer.com) takes tracking to a whole new level. Is it perfect and exact? NO! But after working with it I've become a fan and enter my data on a daily basis.
THE DIARY WINDOW
This is where you're going to spend most of your time. You'll access the calendar to pick dates, press the "ADD" buttons to add foods, exercise, biometrics (like if you lift weights) and notes.
The calendar is where you pick the date you're going to enter data for, the date in solid green with white letters is the active date. The diary will reflect the foods, exercise and biometrics you record for this date.
THE ADD BUTTONS
In the Cronometer you click on these buttons to add data to your daily diary. Add Food will be the most commonly pressed button, it opens a data-base where you type the name of what you ate and it adds the nutrient information to your diary.
The little gear icon opens a drop down menu, this is used for copy and paste functions. If you hold down the shift key you can select multiple non contiguous items out of one days diary entries and paste that into a different day. This can be a big time savings if you're eating the same thing regularly.
I set up a date in the past where I've collected all my favorite foods and diary items, that way when I need something I eat regularly I go to that date instead of hunting in the data-base.
FIND WHAT YOUR DIET LACKS
The Cronometer features this excellent panel of nutrient information. If nothing is "selected" in the diary then the totals for the day will be showing. If you select a single item in the diary then its specific details will be shown. To select a diary item just click on it and it will highlight, click it again to deselect it and return to overview.
In my first week of tracking with the Cronometer it helped me identify two important things wrong with my diet, I was not eating enough calcium and I was not eating enough fibre. Three weeks later my data showed I was barely eating 50% of my potassium RDA so now I'm eating a supplement with each meal.
To get results like this means you must spend a few minutes each day feeding the Cron with what you fed yourself.
Almost every food known to man is already inside the Cronometer so you don't need to do a lot of typing, just search and you'll find what you ate.
You can create your own custom recipes so it's fast to look up something you make in your kitchen, like salad dressing, I make mine with rice vinegar because it has zero carbs and zero lectins. I created a custom recipe for my dressing which is a 1:1:1 MCT oil ; Olive oil : rice vinegar.
PROFILE FOR WEIGHT LOSS
The most popular use for Cronometer is weight loss. In your Profile you can set what your goal is, maybe it's just to eat right. If you want to lose weight you can set it to half a pound a week, or a pound a week or more. With this in your profile all the calorie data on the diary page will be set to help you meet your goal, just follow the message in the Diary.
Your most important calorie information is right here. Notice how it tells me I have 622 left today, I think I'll have some cheese for a snack.
CRONOMETER IS FREE
All this power is available for free, the site has some advertising, it's not overly intrusive on the experience at all. You'll barely know it's there but you might see something that you want :-)
Check it out: www.cronometer.com
Happy eating to all!