for the most part cooking just changes the weight or volume of the food, not the calories. 2 oz dry pasta has the same amount of calories once you cook it in plain water, the end volume [yield] just changes. 5 oz raw meat might turn into 3 oz cooked meat, but that three ounces cooked is going to have the same nutrition info as it did when it was raw. 100 g of raw potato has about 100 cals, but once you bake that 100 g potato it becomes a 70 gram potato with 100 cals. i really like nutritiondata.self.com because they also use usda info, but they spell out what is included where spark doesn't. i also feel their system is a little more user friendly than the usda's. keep in mind that anything you add to the original item, say a Tablespoon of olive oil to cook it in, will change the calorie count because it's no longer the plain item.
when making things like casseroles, you rely on averages. so if you put a pound of ground beef, a pound of pasta, a can of tomatoes, some herbs and spices, a pound of zucchini and a pound of mushrooms all into a 9x13 pan for a casserole and cut it in 12 pieces, then each piece will have about 1.33 oz meat, 1.33 oz pasta, 1.25 oz of sauce if the can had 15 oz, 1.33 oz zucchini and 1.33 oz mushrooms. if you cooked any ingredients in olive oil before adding them to the casserole, each piece will have 1/12 of that so long as you are mixing it together and not putting all the meat in one corner and the zucchini in the other and so forth. on average you'll get a bit of everything and that should be good enough.
-google first. ask questions later.
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Where it comes to meat, I live in NZ. I know that different countries seem to have different preferences for the fat content and their cattle/sheep breeds are grown according to local tastes. NZ generally has a preference for lower fat content, so I contacted our Meat Board to get them to send the nutritional information for the various cuts and showing it in raw form and cooked form. There is a big difference in calories because if you weigh a raw piece of steak then cook it and weigh it again, it will be a lot lighter, especially if you like it well done rather than 'blue' or medium. Most of mine I record in the raw form altho' roast meat I record in the cooked form. I have noticed that SP's data often doesn't show if it is cooked or raw.
When I cook casseroles etc., I bulk cook. I record the weight of everything in raw form, cook it, then containerize it in single serves. I divide the weights by how ever many serves I have, and enter that into the Nutrition Tracker, and save it into my Groupings, to be used later. Just make sure that you date/label it for easy identification.
I enter my recipes in the recipe calculator: recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator. asp Just put all the ingredients in and then put in the number of servings and it will tell you the calories per serving. If you don't submit the recipe (I usually don't) then you can use the "enter food not listed" to enter the calories from your recipe. Save it as a favorite and then it's easy to find again the next time you cook that recipe.
I am trying to figure out how to track and add meats to my food tracker. My question is, do I go by the size of the food in ounces, how do I measure it to get a serving, and how do I figure out the calories, fat, etc.? I have some idea of how much I should be eating in ounces, I just don't know how to figure out the calories for everything, especially if it is mixed in with a meal such as a casserole type dish. Is there also a difference in calories when the meat is raw and not yet cooked, or cooked instead of raw? That also makes me wonder how to track the total number of calories in a dish with multiple ingredients such as stir fries, meat in soups, or just any dish with more than 2 or 3 ingredients. I have never quite figured all these little thing out. Any help would be appreciated. I do have a food scale too if its helpful and am pretty good at figuring out the weights with it.
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