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Helpful Tools for Managing Special Diets


Using MasterCook 14 to Start or Maintain a Diet

MasterCook 14 features Search and Meals tools that can help you on your journey to start or keep a new diet. From finding appropriate recipes to doing the math for daily nutrition, starting a diet quickly unmasks itself as precisely what it is — learning a new skill. Following a diet involves balancing multiple considerations, such as:  am I getting enough fiber, how much sodium did I have at dinner, will my family enjoy these recipes too, and how many calories from fat did I have today?  Having the right tools can make a winning difference.

Let’s take a quick tour of ways you can use MasterCook 14 to plan your diet, starting with the home screen.  The black menu bar is the fastest way to navigate between features, at least 3 of which would be any new dieters new best allies: Cookbooks, Search, and Meals.

MasterCook's  'search' and 'meals' features makes it easy to plan meals

MasterCook’s ‘search’ and ‘meals’ features makes it easy to plan meals

Many cookbooks seen here are included when you purchase MasterCook 14 (with the exception of Knitting, My Diet, Recipe Swap, and DIY cookbooks, which are my own additions), giving you thousands of recipes to search from the get-go. It’s very easy to organize,  import, or make new recipes to add to any existing or custom cookbooks.  You can dedicate a whole cookbook to kale or blue cheese recipes if you like!

Any recipe can be edited to your needs.  For example, if you wanted to cut fat intake, then an easy way to optimize this recipe would be by substituting 2% milk with 1% or non-fat milk.

Edit ingredients or directions for a customized diet friendly recipe

Edit ingredients or directions for a customized diet-friendly recipe

When using the Search function, you can start with predefined criteria then click on open search to find more specific criteria.

Pick search using several categories, including calories and fat % or keywords

It’s easy to find recipes with exact nutritional criteria in mind, even an exact percentage range for sodium.

MasterCook offers multiple criteria and methods  to search recipes and cookbooks.

MasterCook offers multiple criteria and methods to search recipes and cookbooks

After entering your required dietary needs, click search and wait for MasterCook to find the right recipes out of thousands.  The results of your search appear in the right hand box.  Here, you can choose a recipe to add to your meal plan,  right-click on a recipe and select copy.

Pick from several recipes in search results

Pick from several recipes in search results

Next, select Meals on the menu bar.  Meals includes two sub-features that can be accessed through the left hand panel, Menus and Meal Plans.  Select ‘New’ located in the left panel to easily create a new meal plan (same for a new menu).  After you enter a name for your meal plan, you can select any row and  paste your recipe.  You can insert more recipes, rows, or meals (such as Snacks and Brunch) using a right-click menu. Click save when the prompt appears and you’re on your way to better planning for your diet.

Select row and right click to paste recipe

Select row and right click to paste recipe

After adding all your recipes, you can review the nutritional information of your meal plan using the nutritional analysis tool.  You can review nutrition by recipe (select a recipe row and right click), meal, or full day (use the top menu for ‘Tools’ or the heart icon on the right hand panel).

Here, the nutritional analysis for this banana yogurt shake bases all nutritional values on a 2,000 calories a day diet, but you can also change calorie intake by selecting the  ‘Daily % value based on’ button.

Review meal plan nutritional information, including calories

Review meal plan nutritional information, including calories

For extra convenience, you can create a shopping list based on your meal plan by selecting all recipes and clicking on the yellow add icon located on the far right hand panel.

Just make sure you adjust servings using the scale recipe button on the menu plan screen, otherwise you may end up mistakenly buying 10 bananas for your breakfast recipe when it was meant for one.

Add your meal plan to shopping list of groceries

Add this week’s meal plan to your shopping list

There’s still many more functions to be explored.  In future posts, I’ll suggest a few ways you can personalize your MasterCook experience to help you plan a food budget, take stock of your pantry, plan a dinner party, or share a family cookbook.

Happy recipe collecting!

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