Use Fitbit to track not only your steps and activity but also the food that you eat. This article explains how to create, edit, and manage food plans.
What is a food plan?
A food plan helps you achieve and maintain your weight goal. By logging your meals each day, you can track your progress towards an estimated goal based on caloric intake and burn. Your goal may be to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your current weight.
How do I start a food plan?
You can only begin a food plan and edit its intensity using the fitbit.com dashboard, but afterwards you can log food and monitor your progress using the Fitbit apps.
- Log into your fitbit.com dashboard.
- At the top, click Log and then click Food.
- Click the Get Started button in the Food Plan section.
- Enter your starting weight, your target weight, and your plan intensity when prompted. Depending on the intensity you choose, you'll see the estimated date for reaching your goal.
- If you want to edit the intensity later, click the gear icon on the Calories In vs Out tile and click the pencil icon next to Plan Intensity. From here you can also change your goal weight.
How do I monitor my progress?
Your food plan provides the following:
- An estimate of your daily calorie consumption.
- A readout of the number of calories you have burned and eaten so far in the day.
- A real-time comparison of the calories you've consumed in your diet versus those you've burned through activity.
- Feedback about whether you are under, within, or above your plan's recommendation.
To achieve an accurate calorie estimate, it's important to log all of the food you eat. As you log your food, your daily calorie estimate will constantly update to show how much you can still eat for the rest of the day while staying within your goal zone. As long as you are within 50 calories of your daily estimate when you log your last meal, you will have met your plan's recommendation for the day.
The Calories In vs Calories Out meter gives you a look at where you are for the current time of day. This will continually update (assuming your tracker syncs regularly) depending on the food logged and your activity level. Your activity level is determined by the steps you take, any exercises recorded by your tracker, and any activities you log manually. As you walk and exercise through the day, your caloric allowance will adjust to let you know how much more you can eat while staying within your goal zone.
As with any fitness program, speak with your doctor before starting your new plan.
How do I log food manually?
To log food with the fitbit.com dashboard:
- Hover your mouse over either the Food Plan or Calories In vs. Out tile, and click the arrow icon in the lower right corner. This will take you to the food log.
- From this page, you can log your meals by entering food descriptions and quantities along with the time they were consumed.
To log food with a Fitbit app, tap or click the tile showing your calories remaining for the day. In most apps, tap or click the "+" to log a food.
Can I scan barcodes to log food?
The Fitbit apps support barcode scanning. Just go to the screen where you log food and tap the barcode icon, then make sure the barcode on your food item is in front of your camera. You'll either see "Got it" if the food is recognized as belonging to our food database, or you'll be prompted to add the food to the food database. If the food isn't recognized, you'll need to manually add it to your food log.
Do I have to add every ingredient in a meal?
On the fitbit.com dashboard you can create a specific meal. This is convenient if you're cooking and want to add all the individual ingredients only once; later, when you cook the same meal again, you can add it to your food plan with one click.
- On the food logging page, find Favorites on the right side and click the Meals tab.
- Click the blue "Create a meal" link and give the meal a name.
- Click Save, then in the Add Foods section you can begin to add the individual foods for this meal. After each food item, click the red Add to Meal button.
- When you are done, click the red I'm done button.
When you want to add the meal again later, on the Fitbit apps you'll find it under Custom Foods.
What type of food database does Fitbit use?
We have comprehensive food databases for the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Korea, China, and the United Kingdom. The database includes simple common items from our partner database, packaged items from national and regional brands, and menu items from restaurant chains. We update the database regularly with new foods.
Our international food database for Taiwan has simple common items translated into the local language.
What do the acronyms in the food database mean?
The food database uses the following acronyms. Note that these terms are not added by Fitbit. They are applied by the nutritional databases we use and appear alongside the nutritional information.
- CP—Commercially Prepared
- HP—Home Prepared
- PAD—Prepared As Directed
- PFR—Prepared From Recipe
- RP—Restaurant Prepared
- RTB—Ready To Bake
- RTC—Ready To Cook
- RTE—Ready To Eat
- RTF—Ready To Feed
- RTH—Ready To Heat
- RTS—Ready To Serve
- SF—Separable Fat
- SLF—Separable Lean and Fat
- SLO—Separable Lean Only
How do I change the language for my food database?
You can choose the country you want to use for your food database. This will affect the listings you see when logging food. To change the database on fitbit.com:
- Log into your Fitbit.com dashboard and click the gear icon in the upper right.
- Click Settings and scroll down to Preferences.
- Choose the food database you prefer.
- Don't forget to click Save.
To change the food database on a Fitbit app, you can usually find this setting under Account > Advanced Settings.
How do I share foods with other users?
As a Fitbit user you can share food entries with any of your Fitbit friends or even the whole Fitbit community.
- To share food with your friends, you'll need to make your food log visible to "friends" or "anyone" within your privacy settings. You can find your privacy settings by going to www.fitbit.com/user/profile/privacy.
- From this screen, you can also choose to keep food entries private by choosing that they only be visible to you.
Any Fitbit user can view and log foods that another user has already logged, provided the permissions are set as described above. Food sharing is particularly useful if you shared a meal with a Fitbit friend, so that you don't have to both log the food independently of one another.
To log the foods that another user has shared with you:
- On your fitbit.com dashboard, go to your Fitbit friends list.
- Click your friend's profile picture.
- Select the Food tab, then click on whichever food item you'd like to log. This will pull up nutritional information about that food item, along with a link labeled Log This Food to the right.
- Click this button to add the food item to your own food log.
- From here, you will see an option to edit the quantity and time, which can be used if one person ate more than the other or took some home for a snack.
- After clicking Log, the item will be added to your Food Log.
What is BMR, and how does it affect my calorie count?
The calorie burn you see is not just activity specific--it is a combination of calories burned related to the tracker's recorded data, any activities you log manually, and your estimated basal metabolic rate (BMR).
Your BMR is the rate at which you burn calories at rest just to maintain vital body functions like breathing, heartbeat and brain activity. Your BMR usually accounts for at least half of the calories you burn in a day and is estimated based on the physical data you entered when you set up your account: gender, age, height and weight. Your profile and tracker use that data to configure your daily BMR. Note that you can edit your account settings to change any of your physical data.
Your tracker's calorie count will reset each night at midnight and begin counting immediately thereafter. BMR is the reason your tracker starts the day with calories already burned--even if you haven't been active yet, you've still burned calories just by being alive.
What is a calorie deficit?
A calorie deficit occurs when you've burned more calories than you've consumed in a given day. To achieve a weight loss goal, you should aim for a calorie deficit. If you've set a weight-loss goal you can choose the intensity of your food plan, which will in turn adjust your calorie deficit target.