Fitness Minutes: (20,400)
2,704 2/4/12 10:48 A
I just suck it up and use the recipe calculator. After two years on Spark it is pretty quick for me! Also, I use Firefox and my default search engine is Google, so when I type "0.25 lb to grams" or "6 tbsp to cups" into the address bar on my browser it takes me to Google, which does an automatic calculation for me. I just keep an extra tab open beside the Recipe Calculator and type in whatever I need converted.
Fitness Minutes: (88,949)
789 2/2/12 5:48 P
For anything I make at home, especially if it's on the heavier side, I use the calculator. You can cut a lot of corners with entering it and just plug in the ingredients and number of servings. I find it rarely takes me more than five minutes to enter a new recipe.
My time-saving method is that I weigh everything as I put the dish together and jot it down on a magnetic whiteboard on my fridge. I prefer to weigh in grams, but most food scales will let you pick your unit of choice. It really doesn't add much time to the cooking process. Once the dish is in the oven, I take the whiteboard off of my fridge to my computer and enter it all into the recipe calculator. For items like tater tots, I go the extra step of entering the nutritional information off of the package myself, since amounts can be very different between brands and with a high calorie item like that you want to be as accurate as possible. Mis-measuring my celery or onions won't throw me off track, but miscalculating how many nuts, how much oil, or how many tater tots I've put into a serving could be the reason I'm not losing weight at the rate I want to be. Those little 100-200 calorie miscalculations add up.
The nice thing about using the recipe calculator is that it gives you information to play around with. If I normally eat a sixth of a casserole and discover that that serving is 600 calories, I can adjust and serve myself a smaller portion before the food even hits the plate.
I guess the easy answer to your question is just to avoid foods like that all together, since tater tot casseroles can be a dangerous thing to add to your menu on a regular basis and the numbers can vary widely depending on how its made. But with a little extra time and effort on your part you can actually get a very good idea of what you're eating in that dish - not just calories, but your other macro nutrients. From there, you can adjust portion sizes, possibly make healthier substitutions to the recipe, and learn how to work the dish into a healthy lifestyle. That might mean a complete recipe makeover, or it might mean that you treat it as a half-cup side portion instead of a meal on its own. Maybe you leave it the same way, but keep it as an occasional treat and adjust the rest of your meals that day to accommodate it.
That's what's so cool about using a tool like the recipe calculator. Food doesn't have to be this thing that either fits into the good or bad category, and you can make it work for you if you don't go in blind, but it does take a couple more minutes of the day to do it. Personally, I think its worth it.
if you're buying your tots in bulk, just manually enter in whatever nutrition info is on the package. then select that so you don't have to convert. the bonus is that it will be more accurate because you are using the info for what you have.
if the pounds to grams is confusing you on the serving end, this is my trick: my 9x9 pan always makes 9 servings and my 9x13 always makes 12. this isn't quite as accurate as weighing it out, but it's much easier and will average out over time.
You'll really want to make sure you record those tater tots accurately; they are not healthy since they pre-fry the tots before packaging and potatoes in general are not exactly low cal.
Also, if you are using the whole bag then just look on the bag for how many lbs it weighs...it's usually given in lbs and grams.
Fitness Minutes: (60)
12 2/2/12 4:24 P
At dinner time we eat a lot of hot dishes (casseroles for you non-Minnesotans) including my favorite Tater Tot. I do good at recording food until I get to this. I tried the recipe builder to figure out what the calories etc are, but honestly it was just too much work to convert pounds to grams and figure out exactly how many tater tots are on it, etc.
How do you other folks record something like this?
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