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Quick guide on how to count calories in food

Despite all the helpful information and diet plans provided out there on losing and managing weight, it all comes down to the calories you take versus those you burn off. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. It is, therefore, important that you know how much calories and nutrients are in your food before you eat to manage your weight and avoid associated health problems. Here’s a quick overview on how to count calories in your food.

Calorie count for single ingredient foods

While it is not always feasible to calculate the exact nutritional information of all your food, you can always determine how much calories and nutritional value your food has by simply looking at the ingredients contained in your food. For packaged, single ingredient foods, all you have to do is look at the packaging label for the calories "per bar" or "per packet" figure.

If your single ingredient meal includes fruits and you want to know how to count calories in the food, use an online calorie counter to determine the calorie content of each fruit and then get the sum total for the fruits combined. For example, the NHS Choices calorie checker says that a medium-sized(100g) banana contains 95kcal (398kJ). If you eat two bananas you will have consumed a total of 190 kcal.

Calorie count for mixed dishes and recipes

Most of the foods we eat have more than one ingredient. For example, you can eat chicken wings cooked in some kind of fat, seasoned with a sauce and served with a plate of rice for dinner. In this case, you will be able to determine the calorie count for your food by adding together the calorie count of each individual ingredient used to prepare the meal or recipe.

Make a spreadsheet and list all the ingredients in the recipe and their corresponding calorie count in the correct quantity as listed on the packaging label or on an online calorie counter. Add up the calorie count values for the entire mixed dish recipe to determine the total calorie count per serving.

Calorie count for full course meals

A full course meal typically consists of different foods, some of which may be recipes with multiple ingredients. For example, a stir fry(recipe with multiple ingredients) can be served with a side of rice (single ingredient). Just like in mixed dishes and recipes, you will need to break down all the individual ingredients used to prepare the entire meal and list their corresponding calorie counts, including the values for single serving recipes with multiple ingredients.

Prepare a spreadsheet to list the ingredients and their corresponding calorie count in the correct quantity as explained above. Workout the total calories by adding up the calorie content of each ingredient in your full course meal and you are done. That’s how to count calories in food.

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