calculations.

by Janetha on May 15, 2011

in body for life,how to,questions answered

hey everyone! who knows what i am doing right now.. maybe basking in the sun, maybe shopping at trader joe’s, maybe eating ice cream. you can be jealous, it’s ok.

i thought that it would be fun to answer a few FAQs and have them auto-publish while i am out and about in palm springs.  if you have no interest in reading my answers to some questions.. skip this post. and the next one. and probably the one after that.

Q: what website do you use to calculate your nutritional information for your meals and your recipes?

A: i use thedailyplate.com, which has since been changed to “livestrong”, but i can’t shake the habit of calling it the daily plate.

this website has the option for you to create a free profile and track ALL you daily meals, calories, macros, etc. it also has the ability for you to create recipes using the ingredients in the database and it spits out a handy little nutrition label for you.  it’s great!

some have asked me how reliable i think these numbers are.. and my answer to that is that it’s as reliable as it’s going to get! i have cross checked the items on the daily plate with actual nutrition labels and they have always matched up.

you have to use your best judgment when plugging in ingredients.  you start typing something and a bunch of options pop up.  say i wanted to track something generic, like a fuji apple.  well, if i didn’t measure the grams in my apple, i am just going to have to use my judgment.

so, i would type “fuji apple” into the search bar and a bunch of options pop up.

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sometimes the first item on the list is what i select and other times i scroll down to pick a different one.  as you can see, options for a small, medium and large apple come up.. and you can also see that the small and medium one are both listed at about 150 grams. i don’t weigh my apples.. so i would just pick the top option and go with it.

this is a bad example.. because when i eat and apple i don’t care how many calories it has.. but i am just trying to show you how the website works!

sometimes when you type an item in, options pop up and have the *verified* logo next to them. i always go with verified options if they are there, because it means that the calorie counts and macros are super legit.

for example, if i had some old fashioned oats for breakfast and wanted to track the oats, i type it into the search bar and quite a few options come up.  you can see that there are some verified and some unverified choices. i will always go with the verified.

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what i like about the website is that you can enter how much you ate and if it does not fall in line with the serving size, it calculates it for you.  for example, a serving of oats is 1/2 cup.. but when i eat oats i do 1/3 cup.  so, i would select the item (highlighted above) and then plug in how much i actually ate.

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you can also specify when you ate this, and it will break down your meals for you. once you click the “I Ate This” button, it calculates the stats and adds it to your day. let’s say i also had some protein powder and peanut butter with my oats and i want to know the whole meal’s stats. i would plug in the other ingredients and it totals it all up for me:

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cool! now i know my breakfast was 339 calories, 12 grams fat, 24 grams carbs and 34 grams protein (roughly).

if i wanted, i could plug in the whole day of eats and it will give me individual meal totals and the overall day total.  what else is awesome is that it spits out a pie chart for the whole day overall.

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here is an entry i made on june 9, 2010. every once in awhile i track things to see where i am.  looks like i tracked my breakfast, lunch and snack this day:

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as you can see, it tallies each meal and then gives you a pie chart for where you are for the day. this is really helpful if you are just starting out with body for life because you want to get a 40/40/20 ratio. looks like i was right on track for that day.. but if i was high in one area, i could adjust my dinner and dessert accordingly.. eating more or less of one macro. make sense?

when it comes to plugging in recipes, it couldn’t be easier. you go to the recipe generator and plug in a few bits of info.

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this takes you to a screen where you fill in the details.. i only fill in the bear minimum because i am lazy.

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i type in the title.. and in the description i always type “yum” because—yes, i am lazy. then you type in the ingredients and it’s great because you just type in how much you used and it calculates it for you.  you can track by various units such as ounces, grams, cups, tablespoons, teaspoons… and it does all the math for you!

here is my recipe for sweet potato black bean enchiladas.. as you can see, i plugged in various measurements.

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it lists the calories per serving below, but pay no attention to that, because it will calculate the numbers when you create the recipe. after plugging in the ingredients, you have to complete the rest of the fields according to your recipe.  i am real vague in the directions and prep/cooking time, but i do specify the servings it makes because this is how it knows the stats per serving.

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haha.. 2 minutes is all it takes! right.

anyway, click on “create recipe” and then it spits out all the info you need!

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that’s a little tiny so i hope you can read it.. but it gives you the ingredient list and the nutrition label. there is also a pie chart below the label:

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and you can simply click on the green “I ate this” button and it will add the enchilada to your daily meals! so handy!

it also keeps a running database of all the recipes you have created (with a search bar) so you can go back and search for/click them if you ever make them and eat them.. so you don’t have to plug it all in again.

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so handy! looks like all my recipes are “yum”.

sooo there you have it. a full explanation of how i calculate my calories, nutrition labels and all that jazz. hope this was helpful!

this actually turned out to be so long.. so i will just keep this post to one Q+A. you’re welcome.

Qs~

1. do you use thedailyplate.com?

2. do you use another website to track nutrition info or calories? which one?

xo. janetha g.

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maria @ Chasing the Now May 15, 2011 at 4:37 am

I use Sparkpeople.com. I’ve tried Livestrong and it’s pretty good, too.

katshealthcorner May 15, 2011 at 4:41 am

I’ve heard of Calorie Counter.

That is so cool that thedailypate keeps track of your recipes, especially those that you eat most often. :)

Holly @ The Runny Egg May 15, 2011 at 4:59 am

I do not usre the daily plate or any calorie counting sites — that sure looks interesting though. I was wondering how you always calculated your meals out — I thought that would have taken a long time!

RunnerandSpice May 15, 2011 at 5:05 am

Very cool. FitDay is another online program like that. It has a good iPhone app too.

Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine May 15, 2011 at 5:42 am

A few years ago I tracked everything into FitDay, and while it started out as a disordered thing, it eventually morphed into a way to make sure I was eating enough, and taught me how much to eat to gain/maintain my weight. I don’t count calories anymore, but I think it’s impossible to count them for a few years and not still be aware of the calorie content of things. Definitely a double edged sword- it can be really helpful for some people, but it can also lead to obsession in others!

J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) May 15, 2011 at 5:43 am

Haha, vie been a member of TDP since way back when, too! I don’t track my food on there, I just post on the forums and groups.

Jessica W. May 15, 2011 at 6:21 am

Great post! I love Livestrong.com (i.e. The Daily Plate)! It has been instrumental in helping me with portion control. Until I started tracking my food, I didnt realize how much I was overeating! I dont live and die by calorie counting, but it is good to be able to hold myself accountable for the things I’m eating.

edenseats May 15, 2011 at 6:30 am

I think your eating ice cream while sitting inside a Trader Joes shoping cart. Oh wait, thats me!

I feel blessed that I get a hands-on tutorial from both you and Ms SmoothieGirl. But I don’t use the daily plate all that often because I’m trying not to care about calories. And calorie of ice cream made at home never counts, right?

Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) May 16, 2011 at 4:47 pm

I’m glad you relinquished my scale back to me- for two reasons: 1) I don’t want you to care about weight/calories and 2) I dropped my other one and it’s kaput. :-( And you were adorable in the TJs shopping cart.

Trisha May 15, 2011 at 6:45 am

I love the daily plate! I’m kind of like you how I just use it on occasion to check out how I am doing. But i think it is fabulous

Jenny May 15, 2011 at 6:57 am

yup, def. use TDP. Def. don’t have the same passion for it as you do (as we’ve talked about before.. bahhhh) but it is REALLY legit !! definitely the best online food diary available.

Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) May 15, 2011 at 7:30 am

the daily plate. got it.

i am asked at least a few times a week for the nutritional stats/info on my recipes and i always tell ppl i dont know but go online and find a tool. then they ask, well which one? now i know what to tell them :)

hope you’re having a great trip!

runyogarepeat May 15, 2011 at 8:04 am

I’ve never used the dailyplate, but I’ve used nutritiondata.self.com to calculate counts for recipes before and for nutrition menu planning projects. The daily plate looks like a better resource though!

lifttorun May 15, 2011 at 8:42 am

I did use this site, but that was when I was counting all my calories, which caused me to go nuts and not eat so I don’t anymore.

Allison @ Food For Healing May 15, 2011 at 9:25 am

i love livestrong, i use it all the time. I find it the easiest to use and the best out of all of them.

Leah May 15, 2011 at 9:38 am

I used to use TDP then livestrong but now I’m on Sparkpeople b/c LS started to annoy the shizz out of me.

Sweet Cheeks May 15, 2011 at 9:39 am

that is so cool!! I would like to keep tracks of my cals and macros just for a day to see where I am at with things, just because i think it is so interesting. I have tried before but by the time the day is almost over, I always end up forgetting to do it, haha. At least now I know how to correctly do it! Thanks!

Katy (The Singing Runner) May 15, 2011 at 9:49 am

I love this website! I use it from time to time! :)

Christy Gilvear May 15, 2011 at 10:51 am

I use fitday.

SquatLikeALady May 15, 2011 at 11:27 am

I do everything by hand because the first tools I used WAY back in the day (like 2 years ago), SparkPeople and…gah I forget the other one…probably doesn’t even exist anymore anyway — were hugely inaccurate and it was a pain in the BUTT to change serving sizes, like when I make protein pancakes and use 15g of pea protein isolate, 20g protein mix, 20g oat bran, and a chia egg — it would take like 20 minutes just to get everything adjusted when I could calculate it on my own in less than a minute. BUT….Livestrong looks good!!! I might have to try it out!

Annette @EnjoyYourHealthyLife May 15, 2011 at 11:42 am

i LOVE using the dailyplate.com :) I also have my clients use it as well<—easy, free, and awesome. Glad another friend out there loves it as well!!

Molly May 15, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Sparkpeople! Sometimes if I just want to calculate a recipe I will use NutritionData.com

BrocStar May 15, 2011 at 1:26 pm

I love the daily plate.. I use it all the time when I want to know the stats on something I made. I also, like you, will use it sometimes just to see where I am at.

stuffedsillysarah May 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm

I’m also a livestrong lover :) x

Michelle May 15, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Love livestrong! It’s a great tool that’s so easy to use.

Amanda May 15, 2011 at 2:38 pm

I need to test out auto-publish. I’ve never tried it!

I use sparkpeople. Although not recently. I need to get on that.

McKenzie May 16, 2011 at 7:12 am

I’ve never used The Daily Plate/Livestrong although I see it come up in search engines a lot. I used to use Self Diet Club but more recently have found I like the Spark People tracker (and entire site) alot! Like The Daily Plate, you can add recipes and favorites, plus there is a lot of community interaction!

melissadishes May 16, 2011 at 8:49 am

I still only use WW online. It doesn’t do calories and macros, but then again, I don’t want to do double the work, lol.

marissa May 16, 2011 at 11:03 am

sparkpeople

Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) May 16, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Calling all rainmen (women) that would be me- or at least the old me. I still plug in all of my recipes and sometimes I like to see the stats but as you know I’m trying to back off the DP. Having said that, I loved it while I was using it (love-hate) and it was about 400 zillion times better than spark people for the foods I was eating. I did a side-by-side comparison and it took me about 3x the amount of time to do SP- no bueno.

This is a great post for people who want to learn daily plate Jbean!

Allie {Cook Read Run} May 17, 2011 at 5:41 pm

I do that too. If you try SparkPeople, they have measurement converters, so it’ll tell you how many cups 100g of apple is :)
I love the little pie chart, though! Perfect for Eating For Life tracking.

Alta June 2, 2011 at 1:36 pm

I use dailyplate aka livestrong. I use it to keep on track with my calories and fiber intake. I also use the diary to keep track of “tummy” issues I might be having so I can figure out if there’s a food that’s bothering me (I have lots of tummy issues). I never knew there was a recipe thing though! So cool. Definitely going to try that. I tend to make recipes and roughly figure stuff out – that would be way better.

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