Nutritional information is provided on the packaged foods and beverages we buy from the grocery store. Produce and foods bought at specialty stores do not always come with an attached label, which makes figuring out nutritional values trickier. Moms who are trying to cook healthier meals for their families may be wondering about the nutritional values of their favorite recipes, and family’s favorite home-cooked meals. There are ways to figure out the calories, fat content, carbohydrate (fiber and sugar) as well as vitamin and mineral values in foods, with the right tools.
Familiarize yourself with the dietary and nutritional requirements of your family members, by age at the MyPyramid website. Consider any special dietary needs of children, who require six daily servings of grains according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Women of menstruation age in the family or and vegan and vegetarian family members will need to have their iron and protein needs met.
Figure out the nutritional information for pre-packaged foods by using the label, measuring cups and a calculator. One 2 oz. serving of pasta may have 210 calories. If there are eight servings in the box and your family of four eats an entire box of pasta, some family members may be eating as much as two full servings, or 420 calories.
Find nutritional information for fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, packaged food and fast foods at the Nutrition Data website. See the Resources section for a link. Use this resource to look up detailed information about individual foods which are fresh, frozen or canned. Modify the serving size that you will be eating to find the most accurate information. Print or bookmark the most nutritious foods you find, to make yourself a binder of information featuring the healthiest foods that you enjoy eating.
Calculate the nutritional information in your favorite recipes using a recipes website which allows you to enter your own recipes. Create a recipe, including exact measurements and ingredients from the sites All Recipes, Big Oven or The Daily Plate. See the Resources section for a link to calculate nutritional values.
Purchase or borrow a calorie counting book if you need a way to calculate nutritional information without a computer. Look up each ingredient individually, and find the calorie count, fat count, carbohydrate grams and protein grams for each one. Write them down. Add the numbers. Divide the number by the number of servings the recipe makes for nutritional information per serving.
- Do not expect the nutritional calculations to be exact unless you measure each ingredient precisely.