How to count calories in food you cook? (1 Tip)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, ‘How to calculate calories in the food that you cook?’. We will explore different ways that suit people with various levels of technical and numerical knowledge.

How to count calories in food you cook?

When you calculate the calorie count, you need the assistance of math to help you out. To calculate the calories in pre-packaged food is easy because of the labels but calculations for home-cooked meals are just as simple.

Calories are a unit of energy obtained when the body breaks down food. Calories are obtained from almost all the nutrients in food, such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. 

To calculate the calories, you need to perform simple arithmetic. Add the calorie content of all your ingredients that you put in the meal. Then, you divide it by the number of servings.

Use an app

There are apps such as MyFitnessPal to help you keep track of your calorie count. However, some of them tend to be confusing rather than helpful. Precision is sometimes lost using these tools because no one knows your ingredients and serving size as you do. 

In case you do not want to pay for the premium version of an app for some simple mathematical calculations, you can calculate calories in home-cooked foods on your own devices. You could use an excel sheet or even an old-fashioned pen, paper, and calculator with no difficulty.

Use a website

Instead of an app, you can use a website to determine your calorie counts. The USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference has a handy tool to enable you to keep track of your calorie counts. The features are comprehensive and, you can even keep track of your previously prepared recipes. 

Using a pen and paper

Make a list of all the ingredients that you use. The individual calorie content could be obtained from the food label or a trusted website.

Measure and change calorie amount in a unit that you are comfortable with. The serving size will correspond with the calorie content given on the food package.

If you used half of the package; simply half the number of calories or make the changes using proportions.

Make a list of all the ingredients that you use and put the calories next to them. Put the values in a calculator to perform the addition function. 

The sum that you get is of the entire dish that you prepared. To obtain the calorie consumption by a person; divide by how many people shared the food, otherwise known as a serving size.

For accuracy, obtain volumes or grams and adjust the calculations accordingly. For example, if you prepared a rice dish of 800 grams with a calorie content of 1200 calories. 

If you ate a plateful, you presumably ate around 275 calories in 80 grams. For accuracy, you can weigh how much rice your plate holds in a weighing machine. If you do not have a weighing machine, use an alternate unit as a volume in a measuring cup or bowl.

Using spreadsheet

A spreadsheet is a handy tool to organize all of your calorie counts concisely. Just look at some templates to determine how you want to arrange your chart. 

Start by making 3 columns. 

The first one is for the amount or quantity of the ingredients. 

Whatever unit of size that you select, keep it steady throughout to avoid confusion. If you choose the amount in cups, keep it that way for the rest of the chart. Alternatively, you might prefer pounds or grams.

To avoid missing the values when processing the sheet, keep the caloric values at hand when you cook. Keep track of the volume and weight. You may prefer measuring cups or measuring spoons to determine volume. A kitchen scale is most precise and easy regarding all necessary measurements.

Make the second column for the name of ingredients.

Make a list of all the ingredients that you put in your recipe.

The third column is for calories.

Here you can add the calories in the unit size of the ingredient that you use. Suppose you cooked with a 1/2 cup of medium-sized white rice. Look up the calorie content on Google and select the option that seems the most reliable and accurate.

Fill the rest of the columns with everything you need to know about the individual ingredient; total calories, fat content, carbohydrates, saturated fats.

Where your column ends type in, ‘total’ followed by ‘serving size’ below. 

Now you are ready to compute the results.

Add the nutritional value for each ingredient.

Sum it up to find the total.

Then divide by the serving portion to find the calories per serving.

In this brief guide, we answered the question, ‘How to calculate calories in the food that you cook?’. We explored different ways that suit people with various levels of technical and numerical knowledge.