Counting calories

On a lighter note than yesterday’s little political rant, and because it’s a Friday and I know I never want to actually have to use my brain on a Friday, I’ve decided to tell you allz about a website I find interesting and useful.

When I’m eating something homemade or something that doesn’t come with nutritional information printed on the side, I find it difficult to figure out how much protein, iron, or calcium I’m getting from each particular meal. I mean, if I pack myself an apple, salad of baby greens, and a Greek yogurt for lunch, the only thing clearly marked is the Greek yogurt. And I’ll just have to assume the other stuff is good for me, too.

Well, now you can know for sure. While I’m not recommending you start counting calories, I do think this website is helpful for other things. I use is sporadically, but when I do I use it to track protein, because I can never seem to get enough.

The website is CalorieCount.About.com and there you can log what you eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks to see your daily nutritional information.

After you’ve logged your food (and exercise/water intake, etc. if you want), it’ll show you graphs to illustrate what you need to get more of and what you’ve gotten too much of.

Click on the picture for a larger view.

For example, after my lunch on Wednesday, this is what my log told me:So overall, I needed to consume A LOT more of A LOT of things. But I was doing well in terms of keeping my vitamin C high (because of all the fruit I ate, probably) and keeping things like saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium low.

Click on the picture for a larger view.

Now you’re thinking, well, great, but how do I know what I should eat more and less of? Well, it also breaks that down for you by giving you the nutritional information of each food you’ve eaten that day.

From this chart I can see that my breakfast and lunch were too low in potassium, so adding a banana in there would have been helpful.

And my snack log tells me that all my snacks were low in protein, so maybe I should add some almonds to make up for that. Because my snacks were all fruit, it sort of explains why the log shows they were low in vitamin A, calcium, iron, and potassium.

The areas marked green show me what food are good for getting what vitamins. So breakfast, while low in potassium, was super high in fiber which means it kept me full for a while. My lunch was SUPER high in vitamin A so maybe it was ok that all my snacks weren’t.

It shows me that my overall breakfast, lunch, and snacks were all low in saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar (all good things to keep low), and high in vitamin C.

And underneath each total value it shows you what percentage of your daily value of something you’ve fulfilled. That way, I know that for dinner I need something high in protein, calcium, and iron (gotta keep those bones strong!)

See how helpful it can be? I’m not expecting that you’ll use it all the time. I most definitely don’t. I just use it occasionally to see what’s going on with what I’m eating. It’s pretty informative.

And that’s my tip for the day.

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