Ways & How

How to Calculate Nutrition Info for a Recipe

How to Calculate Nutrition Info for a Recipe How to Calculate Nutrition Info for a Recipe

One of the healthiest—and most cost-effective—ways to ensure that your family eats good food is to cook meals in your own kitchen. While take-out can be very convenient, commercial food tends to be loaded with unhealthy stuff like trans-fat. Also, most restaurants prioritize taste, convenience, and price savings over nutritional value. If you are really serious about tracking your family’s nutritional intake, calculating nutritional information for a recipe is the first place to start. By determining specific or estimated values for both macronutrients and micronutrients, you can assess your dietary priorities and adjust meals to fit your goals. Nutritional information can also come in handy when you want to tweak recipes to make them less fattening while retaining as much flavor as possible. You will find that there are various ingredient substitutions or reductions that are subtle enough not to be noticed by a hungry eater, while removing a lot of unnecessary calories, fat, and sugar. Here’s how to calculate nutrition info for a recipe:

  1. Review the recipe and note all of the ingredients that will go into it.



    Make sure to include the amount of each ingredient as well as its form: chopped, peeled, ground, etc.

  2. For recipe ingredients that are processed or packaged, check the labels for the nutrition facts. Carefully note the serving size and calculate for the right values. The listed nutritional value on the label should be multiplied (or in some cases, divided) by the number of servings that the recipe calls for. For instance, if a cup of whole milk has 180 calories, and your pudding recipe will need two cups, then the total calorie count is 360.

  3. For ingredients that are raw or unprocessed, you won’t often find any nutritional labels, so you will have to look them up in a nutritional database. There are several that can be accessed online for free, like the USDA National Nutrient Database. This particular database will actually help you look up any ingredient by its food group, individual nutrient content, or product name.

  4. There are also various Apple and Android apps that provide nutritional information for commonly-used food items. This can be an even better option in terms of availability and convenience.

  5. Once you have the nutritional information for all the ingredients that will be used for a recipe, you can then add it all up according to similar categories. For example, to get the total calorie count for a simple scrambled egg dish with cheese, you will need to add up the corresponding calorie count for the eggs, cheese, oil for frying, and any other seasoning used. Do the same thing to determine other values like fat content, protein content, sodium content, etc.

  6. Decide how large your serving portions will be and divide the nutritional value accordingly. If the ingredients you used to make a pot of tomato soup contain a total of 2000 calories, and you plan to divide it into eight portions, then one serving of the tomato soup will be equal to 250 calories. Don’t forget to account for the sides or garnishes you intend to add afterwards, for example, if you plan to serve the tomato soup with some buttered Parmesan croutons.

The steps above show you how to calculate nutrition info for a recipe the easy way. However, take note that this method will only be accurate if you use a reliable nutritional value database correctly. When looking up nutritional info, be as specific as possible since nutrient values can significantly vary between different forms (a cup of mashed potatoes versus a cup of peeled, cubed potatoes) and different brands.

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