Ok...with homemade items, there is the recipe calculator (Spark Recipes on the Healthy Lifestyle tab). You post your measured ingredients, and how many servings it will make, and the calculator gives you the nutritional info. / serving. I always keep my recipes private, but that's a matter of choice.
For the rest, things you use a lot, it's worth adding as 'favorites,' which you can search separately from the whole database. What I do with brands I use that aren't listed, I enter manually--again into favorites. You can enter foods using the info. on the packages. the other thing to do is look on the posted items for the ones closest to what you use, and just use those. ALWAYS pay attention to serving size--and make sure you count the actual number of servings you eat: that's my big stumbling block. A 'serving' of cereal on the box might be 1/2 of what I would eat, so I have to measure and count. TRACKING DOES HELP A LOT. It's worth getting a good kitchen scale (I like grams, as more precise) because weighing is more precise than measuring.
Another nice thing is if you have meals you ALWAYS eat the same way (I do my oatmeal the same every day) you can make a 'food grouping,' and then it's just one item to enter (though you get 'credited' for the number of ingredients).
It IS a pain at first, but then it becomes relatively simple because the vast majority of what you eat is ready at your fingertips.
Good success to you.
Edited by: BRITOMART at: 7/28/2012 (13:56)