Go to https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/ and select “Create a Profile.” You will need to set up a new profile (and a free account to go along with it so you can access it again later). Even if you have a login for your own account, please create a new one so that the profile matches that of the person who was interviewed and provided this food recall. Remember, this is not your own personal information, but that of the person interviewed (unless you are using yourself). If your subject is female, and is pregnant or breastfeeding, provide the relevant information as requested. For physical activity, select the level that best meets the activity level of the person you interviewed. If asked, make sure to select “maintain your current weight.” This project will not involve weight management.
After creating your profile and your account, you will be taken to your personal homepage. A recommended meal plan and calorie level will be generated. Take note of what is recommended. You will be able to look at it again later. Next, head to “Food Tracker” on the main screen. You will be directed to a new page where you can enter your foods for the day. Select the food you wish to enter, either using the dropdown menu or the search function. If the recall you have includes supplements, please leave those out. We are only analyzing dietary intake.
The best way to enter this information would be to type in the food item name and then click the search button. A list of foods will appear. Select the correct food and then enter the portion size consumed. If you can’t locate the exact food, find the most generic version or select the food that most closely matches. Choose your search term carefully as this can impact which foods are located in the USDA database. Searching is not always the most user friendly, so you may need to try multiple terms. For example, instead of 2%, you may have better luck just searching milk and then locating the exact match within the list. You will also need to select which meal this was or if it was a snack.
Once the foods are added you’ll be able to give specific information about the composition of the food in relation to MyPlate food groups and recommendations within those groups.
When you are finished entering all of the foods it is time to analyze the data. Answer the questions or provide the requested data in each of the sections below. It will be submitted as a Word document, so it is a good idea to open a blank document now and work through each of the steps.
This image from Pixabay comprises public domain material.
Start with the Daily Food Group Targets. Record the target for each food group, the eaten amounts for each food group, and then the status. You will want to copy and paste this table into your Word document. You may not be able to simply copy and paste depending on your computer. You can also take a screenshot, and then crop the graphic as needed.
Next, look at the Graph (next to the word data and below the daily food group targets). What are the total percentages of the target for each food group? For grains, what percent is whole and what percent is refined (hover the arrow over the sections on the chart and it will show this)? For dairy, what percent is from milk/yogurt and what percent is from cheese? Do this for any of the other food groups that have two different designations within the food group. You will be able to visually spot this because the bar on the graph will have two different styles within the color.
Next, look at Daily Limits. This is below the graph you were just looking over. What are total calories eaten? How many empty calories were eaten and what was the limit? How much oil, saturated fat, and sodium were eaten and what were those limits? As with the above graphs, you will need to insert this as well for your group to see the results.
These charts also need to be used in the final presentation, so save them now (sometimes right clicking and selecting “save picture as” will work). You may copy and paste into Word, you may use screenshots, or if possible, save the graphic and insert it into your Word document.
The next step is to open the Nutrient Intake Report (just below the graph, smaller print, next to “Related Links”). You will need this chart in addition to the final presentation so make sure to save it! It can be exported as a PDF, Excel, or Word file. Word will likely be the easiest for you to use. The table will list the target, average eaten, and the status. Make note of those that exceed guidelines and those that do not meet the guidelines. For now, you can assess this as over or under the guideline just based on the status provided. In the final presentation you will be converting these to percentages. Remember that for cholesterol and sodium you want to be below the value, so no need to comment if you fall below, only if you exceed it.
You now have all the information you need to assess the data and write up your findings. Keep this information, as you will need it for the final presentation of your work.
Outcomes of Your Predictions
See if your predictions matched up to what you thought. Make note of this. This should be a fairly comprehensive review and take up ~2 slides in your final talk (or 3-5 bullets/slide)–remember that you have to cover the major food groups AND macro-/micro-nutrients.