Recipes When Tracking Food

- POSTED ON: Apr 19, 2011



 Here’s a question I received about Calorie Counting.

"One thing I always wonder about calorie counting:
how do you account for cooked foods or whole meals?
For example, an apple is easy: it's so & so calories.

However if... (like we did today for dinner)... your meal consists of
a) potato salad b) cucumber salad and c) cheese pie

How would you go about counting all that?
Would you have to input all recipes & divide by helpings
to know what you've eaten?"

And Here’s my Answer to that Question.

DietPower, the software food journal I use,
has a simple function that allows me
to input label info from new foods into its food dictionary.
It also has a simple function that allows me to input new recipes,
using foods that are in its food dictionary.

I would use the search function in its food dictionary,
and find potato salad,
then input how much I ate (1/2 cup?)
Same thing with cucmber salad and cheese pie.
Each of the 3 specialized foods could be as easy for me to input as an apple.

During the past six and a half years,
the DietPower program has been extremely helpful to me.
After I've input a food or a recipe once,
it becomes part of the program and is forever in my software dictionary.

As part of the process of entering a recipe the first time,
I have to determine how many servings are in it.
The program then immediately responds
with correct nutritional values, including calories.

When I first started using the program,
I'd put in one of my favorite recipes
and divide it so that one serving was the amount I usually ate.

SURPRISE... sometimes I found my chosen serving
was TWO or THREE times more than the calories I thought I was eating....
so then... (during the initial input process)... I adjusted the recipe
to a more reasonable number of servings
such as 12 servings, not 6 servings.

This taught me how much I should be eating,
and served as a Forever reminder as to just what size
my serving of that particular food should be.

When I log my food for each day, I just use DietPower's search function
Up comes my food or recipe,

I put the amount I ate...1 serving, or 1/2 serving or whatever,
and instantly I have all the nutritional values of what I ate...
or what I PLAN to eat... because sometimes,
when I see the total calories in advance, I alter my plan.

I've now been using DietPower a very long time
so most of my standard recipes are now in its Dictionary.
When I cook a new recipe, I just add it in.
I also enter as a Recipe,
frequent combinations of foods I eat,
such as a particular Sandwich or even a complete standard meal.
That way I am able to log an entire meal as easily as I could log an apple.

If I am going to eat in a restaurant,
I plan approximately what I will eat in advance.
I Look online and find that item or a similiar item,
and put the restaurant nutritional info for that food item into DietPower.
Then, after my meal, I make minor changes to reflect what I actually ate.

Anytime I eat something I haven't prepared, I can always find
something similiar in the DietPower food dictionary, 
or find the nutritional values of a similiar food somewhere online.
Once I put that food into the DietPower dictionary, it is there for future use.

Most people eat about the same foods month after month,
so once the initial work is done, tracking food is very easy,
and takes only a few minutes each day.

I find doing this a very enjoyable and extremely valuable HABIT.
Any Skill or Habit takes work to estabish in the beginning,
but the payoff can be remarkable.

Leave me a comment.

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Existing Comments:

On Apr 19, 2011 Karen925 wrote:
Lovely roses. I too have a rose garden and it is in bloom as well. Apps can do most of the same tasks in storing information and recipe analysis. I have used sparkpeople on occasion to determine my values, then I enter those values into my custom foods or cookbook/recipe collection. It took some time intially to input new combinations but now it is a rare additions. I use two apps so I can get an average of a new food when needed if away from the internet. In fact, I keep 2 food journals this way as a matter of cross checking. I always preplan going to a restaurant. Nothing like finding out the spinach omelet at Ihop had more calories than pancakes one day. Sticker shock is what I call it. If I want to blow 700 calories, I really want something to show for it. Not something that sounded healthy but wasn't. I think food exchanges came into being before computers as an easier way of tracking calories. But with technology, I do not see the point in an exchange plan (outside of conditioning reasons).

On Apr 21, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Thanks Karen. It sounds as though you are doing a great job of tracking your food.

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