This may long, yet valuable for WW'ers and Mastercook.

Mastercook has over 7000 foods in its database and while that is a large number, it uses the USDA list of R12; the current database is at USDA R18. Since we in need of the most current nurtrient information availble, the best way to update our databases is doing it as we go. As I buy groceries, I may take a few minutes to sit at the computer and enter in the items as new ingredients(if not already in MC) or verify that the information in MC matches the food label very closely. Food companies are required by law to be accurate, so they've done the work for us.

Some specialty foods or "lite" versions may need to be entered into MC or updated. I noticed the 'light sour cream' in MC was 20 calories higher than the brand I always buy SO I updated the MC Nutrition Facts AND went to the MORE INFO tab and created a synonym of 'Daisy Lite Sour Cream' so I didn't have to go through and enter another ingredient all over again.

When entering ingredients
Nutrition Facts Tab:- It's better to either fill out the Serving Size field OR more recommended is the Weight and/or Volume fields. I seem to run into calculation issues if all three are filled out. A good example is a can of black beans. It's important when filling out the Nutrition Facts for food such as Black Beans to enter the Serving size weight(130 grams) AND the Volume Size of 1/2 Cup, thus leaving the top field of 'Serving Size' blank.
Sometime you may add the whole can when preparing dinner into a pot with other things or you make simply open and heat the beans as a standalone 1/2 a cup and save the rest for later.
This method is crucial when you enter a recipe BECAUSE you can enter it as a 15 OUNCE CAN and it will configure the nutrient info from the '130 grams' entry you made on the ingredient screen OR enter it in as 3/4 cup for other recipes if a whole can isn't required.

Exchanges Tab:
Food exchanges were developed in order to make meal planning easier for people interested in using the Exchange program. MasterCook uses seven Food Exchange Lists: Grain (Starch), Lean Meat, Vegetable, Fruit, Non-Fat Milk, Fat and Other carbohydrates. Foods are grouped together into food exchanges because of their likeness to each other. For example, bananas, apples, and oranges would all fall under the Fruit Exchange List while beef, fish, and chicken would all fall under the Lean Meat Exchange List. Each food within a particular food exchange list contains similar amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fat in comparable serving sizes. Foods on an exchange list can be exchanged for any other item on the same list.

More Info Tab:
∑ Plural: You can list the plural of an ingredient. For example, if the ingredient is carrot, you would type carrots.

∑ Synonym(s): When an ingredient can be listed by different names, it helps to have a synonym. For example, the ingredient skinless, boneless chicken breasts would have the synonym boneless, skinless chicken breasts. This is also ideal if you buy a certain brand and don't want to enter it twice. Just be sure the Nutition Facts match what is on the label.

Click the down arrow to see a drop-down list of synonyms that are already listed for an ingredient. Click the NEW button to add a new synonym.

∑ Indexed As: You can index items so they will be included in complex searches. For example, when you search for all recipes that exclude Dairy, any recipes with milk and cheese will be excluded because they have been indexed under Dairy.

Ingredients can be indexed under more than one food. For example, tomato is listed under both Fruit and Vegetables; milk is listed under Dairy and Beverages.

Click the NEW button to add a new index item.

∑ Store Location: This field indicates where the ingredient is typically found in a store (dairy section, produce section, etc.). The store location information is used to make shopping lists and maintain your pantry. I number the locations according to the aisles they are one. For example, I put Campbell Soup as a 07 Soup Rice Sauce location so when my grocery list prints out, most all the items are in the same grouping as the aisles are and it sames me time in the store.

This is an automatic field based on the information included in MasterCook, but you can type in another location.

∑ Purchase As: This is the name of the ingredient as it will be purchased in the store. For example, you donít purchase peeled, chopped potatoes, you purchase potatoes. The information you enter here is what will appear in your pantry and shopping lists.

∑ %Edible: Based on the ingredient, this field will indicate the percent of the item that is edible. Steak is an examples of an ingredient that isn't completely edibleóthe bones and grizzle are usually discarded.

∑ %Refuse: Based on the ingredient, this field will indicate the percent of the item that is refuse. Carrots and celery are examples of ingredients that have refuseó
the tops of carrots and the root base of the celery stalk.

Cost: Enter the cost of an ingredient per unit measure in this field. This information is used in the:

Ł Shopping list to calculate the estimated cost of your grocery bill

Ł Ingredient analyses to keep track of the cost of an ingredient

Ł Cost analyses to calculate the cost per serving of recipes, menus, and meal plans

If you donít know the actual cost you can estimate one. If you know that a can of olives is usually about a dollar, then enter $1.00. Researching the precise cost of an ingredient may not be worth your time since prices change due to sales, coupons, price fluctuations, and other variables.

To enter costs accurately, enter the whole amount including the decimal. If you enter the cost of a can of olives as 100, the computer reads it as $100. If you enter 1 or 1.00
, the computer reads it as $1.00.

Donít forget to include the amount and the unit. If youíre entering information for a 6-ounce can of olives that costs a dollar, you may list the cost as 1.00, the amount as 1, and the unit as 6-ounce can.

You can also print the information for an ingredient. Select the ingredient in the list and click the PRINT button. Click the DONE button to dismiss the ingredient list window.

It's alot to learn but SO imperative when counting your calories, carbs, sodium, and fibers.