Not all calorie counters are the same
Updated: Mar 20, 2021
If you cook at home then tracking macros and calories is more or less simple:
1. Calculate the nutrition facts of the total quantity of each ingredient of the dish.
2. Weight the finished product.
3. Weight your portion.
There is one thing you've probably noticed: the more you track your cookings the simplier recipes you prefer to choose. My wife and I love cooking at home and most dishes we prepare are easy and fast to cook. We love them to be made of as few ingredients as possible.
I finally ended with several favorite dishes that I chose to cook. To add some spice I literally add spices and experiment with souses. My wife keeps doing much more complicated stuff though. Even when she was preparing to her fitness bikini competition she would experiment with different recipes. However, she also switched to simplier meal plans then she would do without counting.
In general it requires some time to create a habit of counting and most of the apps on the market helps you with it. I think the difference among the apps is rather insignificant and you can choose any due to the color scheme or whatever feature you like :)
The real difference comes when you start eating out at the restaurants. If your restaurant publishes the nutrition facts online - you are just lucky! The information is not perfect and they never put the same exact amount of every ingredient every time, but at least it's something. It doesn’t matter. Believe me it is close enough even if you are on the final stage of the prep for a competition.
Well, the info is not provided by all the restaurants. Sometimes they have just calories and no macros. It is already something and you can estimate the macros knowing what kind of ingredients the dish contains. Anyway the most important part if energy balance, and you will have it pretty accurate.
Then what you can do if there is no information at all? Let’s review the options we have.
Avoid such places completely. It works, but I believe it is really not the life you deserve. Having dinner with your friends and/or family is much more than providing your body with the energy sources. This is such a big part of social life that we can't just quit it, unless you are fine with the consequences like never having sex again :)
Another option is to find every dish you eat in MyfitnessPal by name. It is really not the way you should go. If you try to find “greek salad” you will get 100 salads with calories from 30 to 1000.
Another way is to look up the nutrition information for each component of your meal. You estimate the portion size of each component and do the same when you cook at home. This is working way but requires 5-10 minutes of your time for this math. Not that big deal and after some practice you will spend no more than 5 minutes. Still not very accurate but often is good enough.
And the last one which I love: you use Nutritionista App. If your restaurant is there, it takes seconds to select your dishes in the app. It is dramatically different experience, and way simpler than even tracking food you cook at home.
A few of my friends got the amazing results with the body transformation mainly because of Nutritionista, even though they mainly eat out. Welcome to the normal social life and controlling your fat levels!