Tracy Daly is a professor at Cal State San Marcos, National University, Miramar College
As a dietitian and health educator, my favorite MindTap feature is the Diet & Wellness Plus (D&W+) diet analysis MindApp. I teach Health and Nutrition classes at all college levels and use D&W+ in almost every class. The ability to quickly find foods and beverages allows for an intuitive and educational experience for my students. D&W+ is the best diet analysis tool available—it’s user friendly, offers detailed nutritional analysis on many components of diet, and is a great teaching tool!
How does it work?
The D&W+ MindApp incorporates demographic data (height, weight, age, gender), similar to most other diet analysis software, both free and paid. As a dietitian, I am concerned with some of the free apps and software available to the public. They can underestimate calorie needs, leading to confusion, underconsumption of calories and nutrients, and potential disordered eating behaviors. A few case examples compared a popular app that recommended anywhere from a 300-600 calorie deficit of energy needs when compared to D&W+. This is not something I am comfortable having my students use to analyze their diets. However, I also use this as a teaching opportunity.
The D&W+ MindApp is intuitive and easy to use, allowing for users to easily find common foods. Users can enter Nutrition Facts information for a “Custom Food” or create their own recipes. This is very important, as there is no possible way for all foods to be included in a diet analysis software program. Students are easily able to enter in foods or recipes they typically consume for a more accurate diet analysis of their personal intake.
Reports help students pinpoint areas where they need improvement
The Reports section of D&W+ is my favorite aspect of D&W+, as students can learn details about their intake and find areas of their diet to focus on for improvement. Some of my favorite Reports include the Macronutrient Ranges, Energy Balance, MyPlate Analysis, DRI report, and the Intake vs. Goals. The Intake vs. Goals report compares the student’s intake to proper nutritional recommendations (based on their personal demographic data) that cannot be matched by other diet analysis software programs. The data is presented in a clear, attractive, and intuitive manner, allowing students to easily identify their strengths and weaknesses from their entered dietary intake.
There are many other reports for instructors to choose from based on their pedagogy. I personally like the Combination Report, as it combines the details from all reports into one. Users can simply uncheck certain reports if they do not want that information included in their submission. Very easy!
Students learn differently when they can apply information learned in class to their own dietary habits. I often see acknowledgement and ownership of current habits turning into positive dietary changes after engaging in a diet analysis assignment. They feel empowered when they begin to understand how important nutrition is to health, and how they can take charge of their own health by reading the Reports of their personal dietary intake from D&W+. This is a Nutrition instructor’s dream! I am grateful there is such a thorough, user-friendly, and intuitive diet analysis program like D&W+. I would highly recommend it to other Nutrition instructors. It educates students, saves instructor grading time, and is trustworthy.
Note: The Diet & Wellness Plus diet analysis MindApp covered in this blog reflects the experience found within Nutrition and Health MindTap products.
Join Tracy for a walkthrough of the Diet & Wellness Plus Diet Analysis MindApp in this tutorial video: