How To Count Calories
How to count calories can be a tricky process, especially when many restaurants and fast food chains don't openly advertise the nutrition information of their menus. However, it is illegal to keep this information private. For every restaurant or fast food chain, there is posted nutrition information available to anyone who inquires. Here are four tips to stay calorie savvy:
- Always pay attention to serving size. Many people take a quick glance at the nutrition info on the back of a bag of chips and think that it will be worth the 150 calories in a serving. Here's the catch, usually, there are multiple servings in one bag. This goes for many items, not just chips. Always check to see how many servings are in whatever you are about to eat, it will surprise you. Especially king size candy bars, party size bags of chips, and any bottled drink. Don't be fooled by a seemingly low-calorie food and then seeing the serving size is too small to be realistic.
- Mindless eating: Calories that you forget to count, still count. While most twelve ounce cans of soda have 150 calories, many can have as much as 189 calories. This may not seem like a lot at first, but this adds 150 calories to whatever meal you are already eating, such as a 500 calorie slice of pizza (no, this is not an exaggeration).
- Add drinks. Many people forget to add drinks when counting calories, and would chalk this meal up to 500 calories, when in actuality it was a 650 calorie meal. Now imagine having a twenty ounce drink instead. You have just added twenty calories to your meal without even realizing it. Worth it? Probably not. When you can, opt for diet and have as much as you want.
- Snacking Another instance in which many people conveniently forget to count calories is when watching television. Having a snack while watching a favorite show is fun, but often you forget you even ate when thinking about the food you ate that day. You also don't realize how much you actually eat because your paying more attention to the show than your food. Kick the habit and eat at a table.
- There are calories is everything. Think about it, calories are essential to any living being, plant or animal. These calories don't disappear at any time, but with foods like lettuce and tea, the serving size is too small to include in nutrition information. For example, one cup of romaine lettuce as ten calories, one tbsp. of rosemary has 2.2 calories, one cup of red cabbage has seventeen calories, and one cup of black tea has 1.7 calories. Wait a second, doesn't Starbucks and other chains advertise their teas as having zero calories? What a good segue into talking about the FDA.
- Beware of the FDA. The following statement is listed on the FDA's government website, "The caloric value of a product containing less than five calories may be expressed as zero or to the nearest five calorie increment." That's right, zero. That's why teas and Splenda can be advertised as being calorie free, when in fact it is just the serving size that has less than five calories. This does not seem like such a big deal at first, but what about if you choose to bake with Splenda?
So, now that you are informed calorie counter, track down everything and anything that makes its way into your stomach, your waistline will thank you.