How to Calculate Calories in Homemade Food?

by | Jan 24, 2023

It is easy to know the calorie content of pre-packaged food – just read the label. However, calculating the calorie content is not that simple when it comes to homemade food. You may not follow the exact recipe every time you prepare a dish, and the size of the dish can also differ.

So how do you calculate calories in homemade food? Read on to learn how to calculate the calories for your favorite homemade meals.

Calculating calories for single-ingredient dishes

Calculating calories in a single-ingredient dish like a roti, a cup of cooked rice, or roasted chicken breast is pretty straightforward. Use an online tool like MyFitnessPal or fatsecret to count calories.

Go to the app of your choice and type in the name of the food item you are searching for. Sometimes there are options like grilled, steamed, or fried, so choose the correct one. Input the right quantity, and you will get the calorie content of that particular food.

Calculating calories for recipes

A lot of food items that we eat have more than one ingredient. Calculating calories for these dishes is a bit more complicated. To do this, follow these steps –

  • List out all the ingredients that a dish contains.
  • Write the amount of each ingredient that goes in the dish.
  • Now use the online tools mentioned above to know the calories of each ingredient.
  • Adjust the calories in each ingredient based on the amount used in the recipe.
  • Add up all the calories to calculate the total calories in the recipe.

This list will help you calculate the total calorie content of the recipe. To calculate the calories in a single serving, divide the total calories in the dish by the number of servings it contains. For example, if a one-kilogram cake contains 3000 calories, you can cut ten slices of the cake. Then the average calorie content of the cake slice is –

3000 divided by 10 = 300

So, each slice contains 300 calories.

Calculating calories in a homecooked meal

Generally, our meals consist of three or four dishes with multiple ingredients. So to calculate the calorie content of your meal, you will need to know the calories in each dish you eat.

Make a list of all the items in your meal.

Dish Total Calories Calories in each serving No of servings
Chicken curry 320 160 1
Dal 600 120 1
Roti 106 106 2

Total calories in the meal  – 160 + 120+ 212= 492

Now that you know how many calories are in your homemade meal, you can easily track your calories.

Some FAQs regarding calories counting

How many calories should I eat daily?

The number of calories you consume daily depends on how active you are and whether you want to maintain or lose weight. An average person who exercises regularly should consume between 2000 and 2500 calories a day. If you’re going to lose weight, you can reduce your calorie consumption to 1500 calories a day.

I can not find the exact calories of all the ingredients in my recipe. What should I do?

Do not worry if you cannot calculate the exact calorie content in your recipe. Your calorie calculation does not have to be 100 % accurate every time.

When you calculate the calorie content of your dish regularly, over time, you will be able to estimate the calorie content of the recipe and the serving size.

Which ingredients have the most calories?

  • Sugar – One teaspoon contains 16 calories
  • Butter – A 100-gram serving contains 499 calories
  • White rice – One cup contains 204 calories
  • White flour (maida) – 115 calories in 30 grams
  • Cheddar cheese – 113 calories in one slice

Which low-calorie snacks can I add to my daily diet?

Here’s a list of some nutritionally rich low-calorie Indian snacks –

  • Oats idli (One) – 30 calories
  • Upma (one serving) – 192 calories
  • Ragi dosa (one) – 132 calories
  • Sprouts salad (one bowl) – 62 calories
  • Cucumber raita (One bowl) – 40 calories

Final thoughts

When you cook meals at home, you have complete control over what goes into them. Homemade food is made from fresh ingredients and doesn’t contain the preservatives in processed foods. You can also choose to substitute calorie-dense ingredients with healthier options when you cook at home.

So go ahead and calculate the calories in the homemade food using the steps mentioned above. However, don’t get stressed over the accuracy of your calculations. You will get better at calorie counting with time. Educating yourself about the nutritional values and calorie content of the food you prepare will help you make healthy food choices and stay fit.

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