Frequently Asked Questions
1. When I search for a food, the bottom of the screen says “Done,” but I don’t have any results. What am I doing wrong?
Check your screen resolution. It must be set to at least 800 x 600 pixels for you to see the results of your search. To adjust your screen resolution, do the following:
- Minimize all windows
- Right-click on the desktop (any blank area on the screen)
- Select “Properties” from the menu
- Click on the “Settings” tab
- Make sure the “Colors” drop-down menu does not say “16 Colors.” If it does, change it to “256 Colors,” “High Color,” etc.
- Slide the slider under “Screen Area” to obtain at least 800 x 600 pixels resolution
- Click on “Apply”
- Click on “OK”
- Follow instructions on the screen
2. The site won’t let me analyze my foods. I get an error message when I click on the “save and analyze” button, and it asks me to fill in the correct serving size.
You need to make two entries for each food item listed from your search. The first entry, the serving size, is made from the drop-down box next to the food entry. For example, you can choose 1 cup of milk. The second entry, the amount of servings eaten, needs to be typed in the box in the far right column. For example, if you drank 1 ½ cups of milk, you would type in “1.5” for the number of servings of milk. Use decimals rather than fractions. When your screen monitor is small, you may not see the far right column, so you will need to scroll to the right to make that entry (or you can change your screen resolution; see above). You must make both entries for the program to work.
3. There were no exact matches for my search. Will the search find a partial match?
Yes, but depending on how your screen resolution is set, you may not be able to see the partial matches. Even if a search does not find an exact match, it usually displays some alternate results. You may need to scroll down on the search results to view all of them.
4. I thought I could save my food selections from yesterday, but when I went back into the program today, the screen was blank. What happened to my list of foods?
The program stores your food list and nutrient intake information for up to 60 days. To view or update a record of the foods you ate on a particular day, enter that date after you log in. You can also print out a report, using the “print food record” button at the bottom of the quantity selection page. See question #7 for an important tip.
5. What is the “Frequently Used Foods List?”
In response to suggestions by users of MyDiet, we have added a new feature to MyDiet called the “Frequently Used Foods List.” This list will allow you to save up to 20 food and drink selections that you eat most often. You can add or delete foods from this list at any time, and you can use it to choose the foods for your daily diet analysis.
6. I enter my foods after each meal, but when I log on to enter my dinner values (which is usually late at night), the date has already changed to the next day and my breakfast and lunch entries are lost.
The Hawai‘i Foods Website has an internal date that is set based on Greenwich Mean Time. Therefore, depending on the time zone in which you live, the date will be automatically changed to the next day sometime in the evening. However, all you need to do is log on as usual, but before you “save today’s changes,” type in the current date. Your breakfast and lunch entries should then be available.
7. I have been entering my diet into MyDiet for a class, and I realized I made a mistake in an entry of a few days ago. How can I go back in and fix it?
The program stores your food lists and nutrient intake information for up to 60 days. To update your food list, when you log on, type in the date of the entry you want to fix. Then "save today's changes" and enter any additional foods that were eaten that day. When you are finished, the scores for the new entries will be saved in place of the old scores.
8. I’m having trouble finding diet foods. Do you have any search suggestions?
There are numerous descriptors for diet foods. These include “light,” “lowfat,” “skim,” “diet,” “reduced calorie,” “nonfat,” “non-fat,” “fat free,” and “fat-free.” It may be better to search for the food item itself, such as “bread” and then read all the descriptors to find the one that best matches your food.
9. I can find a food that is similar to what I ate, but not exactly. What should I do?
If you can’t find your exact food, you could use something similar, or you could create your own combination. For example, if you ate pizza with broccoli and mushroom toppings, you could use “pizza, cheese, w/vegetables,” or you could use “pizza, cheese” and add a separate entry for the broccoli and the mushrooms.
10. Can you help me find vegetarian versions of foods – for example, vegetarian chicken or hot dogs?
Many of these foods have the descriptor “meatless.” Try searching for that. You could also search for the food itself, such as “hot dog,” and scroll down until you find the meatless version.
11. I can’t find a simple food! I typed in “bananas” and all I got was baby foods.
The search engine sometimes has difficulties distinguishing singular and plural forms of words. If you used the plural form, try using the singular form. If you used the singular, try using the plural. For example, you need to use “tomatoes” rather than “tomato” to get a raw tomato. Also, some things like “applesauce” are one word. You may not find it if you search for “apple sauce” as two words. We have edited many food items by listing both singular and plural forms, so you should not have this problem very often. However, it is something to keep in mind as a search strategy.
12. My salt values were REALLY high, and I don’t understand why. I’m sure they are wrong. I never eat salty or processed foods; in fact, I cook most foods at home and I use lots of fresh produce.
Many prepared dishes (examples include cooked vegetables, rice) are assumed to have added salt, because salt is usually added during preparation (some are also assumed to have added fat). When you dine out and do not prepare your own food, you may not know whether salt has been added during cooking. The sodium values reported in MyDiet are usually a “worst case” scenario. If you prepared the foods yourself and you know salt was not added, then you can assume your sodium intake was lower than what is reported. You also need to watch out for prepared soups, which often have hidden — and high — sodium values. If you want to check sodium values on individual foods, you can do so on another USDA Website: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/cgi-bin/nut_search.pl
13. Is there a way to find out the amount of a particular nutrient in any one of the particular foods I ate? For example, if I want to reduce my fat intake, how do I know which of the foods I ate contributed the most fat to my diet?
We suggest you use USDA’s nutrient data laboratory Website at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/nutrientdata and search by food item. This will tell you how much fat and other nutrients are in each food item.
14. Is there a way to find out what foods are good sources of particular nutrients? I noticed that my intake of certain vitamins and minerals was low, and I wanted to find out what kinds of foods I could eat to improve in this area.
We suggest you use USDA’s nutrient data laboratory Website at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/nutrientdata. Use the column “Sorted by Nutrient Content” to find foods that are good sources of the nutrient of interest.
15. What are the data sources used in MyDiet?
USDA’s Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals (CSFII), 1994-1996 and 1998, was used for food and nutrient data.
USDA’s Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 14, was used for nutrient data for foods not found in the CSFII. These data are available at: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/SR14/sr14.html
The Pyramid Servings Database for USDA Survey Food Codes was used to calculate Food Guide Pyramid servings.
16. I want to print bar graphs of each nutrient from my Healthy Eating History, but it only prints the list of nutrients. Why?
First, you need to click anywhere within the box of the bar graph that you want to print. Then go to “File” and click on “Print,” then click on “OK” or “Print.” You should then be able to print that particular nutrient history bar graph.
17. When I print the list of foods I ate, only the foods I consumed and the serving size of the foods print out, but not the number of servings.
You can go to “File” and click on “Print” then click on the “Layout” tab. Then, select “Landscape” and click on “OK” or “Print.” Then the number of servings should print out.