NutriGenie Automatic Menu Generator
Starting with version 4.0 of our software, we incorporate
a unique technology into many of our nutrition software products:
the NutriGenie Automatic Menu Generator (AMG) technology. With this
technology, the user can specify a daily caloric consumption
level and instruct the program to automatically generate menus
that are well-balanced and meet the desired caloric requirement.
The task of menu preparation can be quite tedious
to health professionals who need to recommend different diets to
a large number of people; or to individual users who have to follow
certain restrictive diet but don't know what and how much they can
NutriGenie AMG technology removes this difficulty: with a click
of a button, a well-balanced menu is freshly created each time.
None of the menus are pre-generated, and with a food database of
approximately 8,000 items, users have literally millions of nutritious
menus to choose from. [The menus generated for the evaluation version
are not as varied because of the much smaller sample food database.]
The daily menus generated by NutriGenie, in almost all cases,
are exactly at or within a few Calories of the requested caloric
level. In addition, with the occasional exceptions in highly restrictive
diets (below 1000 Calories/day), the menus generated are well-balanced
and conform with the USDA Food Pyramid guidelines.
Characteristics of NutriGenie Menus
The generated menus are intended to show you the large variety
of foods that you can eat even when you are on a diet. The menus
also illustrate what a well-balanced diet should look like at different
caloric intake levels.
In general, you don't have to deprive yourself of any particular
food category so long as the amount you eat is appropriate for your
optimal caloric consumption target. For example, even a low-calorie
diet can include ice cream for dessert although the amount is more
likely half a cup instead of a cup of ice cream.
NutriGenie menus are suggestions, not rigid prescriptions. Although
we use a standard food database appropriate for the US population,
our database also contains a number of food products from other
parts of the world. This reflects the diversity of the American
population as well as the culinary sophistication of our users.
So you will see fruits like kiwi or mango, cheese like Camembert
or Gruyere, etc., on our suggested menus. Feel free to substitute
them by comparable foods that are readily available in your area.
How to Use NutriGenie Menus for Weight Control
NutriGenie menus are perfectly suited for use with our Weight
Control Planner utility. You can use the Planner to determine the
caloric intake level that maintains your current weight. If you
desire to lose some weight, for example, you can tell NutriGenie
to generate several menus at different lower caloric levels. Using
these test menus in the Planner, you can find out the caloric intake
level that helps you achieve your weight goal at the optimal rate.
Once this figure has been obtained, NutriGenie can generate a week's
or month's worth of menus for you to review and edit. The printed
copies of these menus are a most convenient tool for you to monitor
Frequently Asked Questions about the Automatic Menu Generator
Can I restrict the menu generator to a list of my favorite foods?
The menu generator has to use the complete list of foods in the
NutriGenie database because it has to generate balanced menus. If
the user doesn't like fruits or vegetables and has none on his list,
for example, the generator cannot create balanced menus. In general,
if you see a suggested item that you don't like, you can manually
replace it with something else comparable. For example, you can
replace a fruit with another fruit.
Why doesn't the menu generator use the foods in my personal
There is not enough information in the personal food database for
the software to select these foods appropriately.
What are the differences between the AMG that is based on calorie
and one based on exchanges?
We do have an automatic menu generator based on the American Diabetes
Association's Exchange System. This Exchange AMG is only available
in our diabetes software such as Diabetes
Nutrition, Diabetes Meal Planner,
With the standard calorie-based AMG, the user just specifies the
calorie target and the AMG creates Food Pyramid-balanced menus.
User cannot specify the foods that the AMG uses.
With the Exchange AMG, the user specifies the number of exchanges
for each meal, the exact foods to use and the AMG creates the menus
that use only selected foods to satisfy the exchange requirements.
However, because of the flexibility of specific food choices, the
Exchange AMG requires more preparation from the user: foods need
to be assigned to exchange lists so that the software knows what
exchanges they belong to, they also need to be assigned to various
meal lists so that the software knows when to use them. In addition,
when foods are assigned to various exchanges, the portion must be
for 1 exchange so that the software can generate the exact and correct
serving amount for any food selection.
To use the Exchange AMG effectively, the user needs to spend time
preparing the food lists, test and refine the list contents gradually.
The trade-off between the 2 AMGs is convenience vs. flexibility.
Why can't I specify the number of protein or carb grams for
the AMG to generate menus for me?
It is not feasible to generate consistently appropriate menus based
on macronutrient specifications. For example, a daily menu based
on 60 grams of protein can range from 300 or so calories to several
thousand calories. It is not advisable to consume 400 calories one
day and 4,000 calories the next even though your protein intakes
are the same.
So what do I do if I want to limit my daily intake to certain
amount or ratio of macronutrients?
You should first determine your daily desirable calorie intake
and use this value to generate sample menus. Once the menus are
generated, you can manually adjust the serving portions of suggested
food items to reach your desired macronutrient goals. You can also
replace, delete or add foods to suit your preferences. The software
provides several convenient tools (Find Max, Find Min, Sort, etc.)
to help you identify the appropriate food items for adjustment.
I cannot find the AMG in my purchased software.
The standard NutriGenie AMG is based on the Food Pyramid guidelines
and therefore is not provided in programs such as Atkins diet, Zone
diet, etc. If a NutriGenie software has the AMG feature, this is
stated in its product description page. If this is not stated in
the software description page or if the trial software doesn't have
the AMG, then the full version doesn't have it either.
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