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GTKARLA Posts: 232
5/5/12 11:52 P

legumes are a real problem for this. So taking the rule that beans triple their size when cooked, a recipe that calls for 1 cup of chickpeas I entered into the recipe as 3 cups.and that comes out as 856cals, I look else where online for nutritional count of 1 cup of dry beans and it`s 440 abouts. That`s a BIG difference.

And there is no nutritional information on my packaging so what use.

4/26/12 10:51 A

@JBuuty1 - Good marketing, maybe? I think a lot of people don't even know that regular rice is easy and fast to make. They've just always been exposed to instant rice.

JBUUTY1 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (9,576)
Posts: 34
4/25/12 11:18 A

I've never understood the appeal of 5-minute rice. It's not like long grain Thai rice, or Basmati rice take a loooong time to cook or a particularly hard to prepare. And they taste so much better!!!

4/25/12 5:09 A

Brown/white/instant rice are completely different entities, not just different brands.

4/24/12 9:36 A

Unfortunately, I think it does depend on the lentil. As with rice, there are different kinds. Brown rice has very different nutritional content than white rice, and even slow-cooked long grain white rice is different than 5-minute Uncle Ben's.
When I enter things from the package, I always everything as it shows on the package. I agree - some people are terrible and only enter calories, or calories and fat. There was a time when personal food entries were not shared, but now that they are, I think people should be more careful.

Sorry, I know that doesn't really help, except to say that not all lentils are the same.

4/24/12 4:51 A

I just googled today to find out about how much bigger lentils get, and discovered they "double or triple". Well, this recipe has 2 cups of dry lentils, so it will either turn into 4 cups or 6 cups. 4 vs. 6 cups is a huge difference on the calorie counter - and completely ridiculous for what is a static amount of lentils. 2 cups dry lentils has a set amount of calories which is no different whether it swells to 4 or swells to 6.

Adding from your own package is a nice idea if you live in a country where labeling standards include everything I want to track, but I do not. The only info I can get is calories, carbs, protein, and fat. I am tracking vitamins and nutrients and really want that stuff in my data.

I stand by my opinion that it's a massive, massive, huge flaw that this site, despite years of existence, has never taken the very simple step of adding dry ingredients for calculating recipes.

If anyone has entered lentils with total nutritional data from their own package, please let me know and I will use your entry. What is in there now for user-entered dry lentils is awfully difficult to trust. One entry says a quarter cup has no folate, another says it has 90% of your daily folate. The calories for a quarter cup vary from 70 to 170. It's absurd. I really doubt dry lentil brands vary that much. I just want one that's complete and accurate. I do not understand why Spark cannot provide this.

Edited by: NIGHTFLOAT at: 4/24/2012 (05:02)
3RDTIMEISACHARM SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (4,316)
Posts: 1,418
4/2/12 8:52 P

Ditto, enter the information from the package if you are cooking from scratch.

The good news, you only need to enter it once, and save it to your favorites.

Also if there is a recipe builder, you can even take a picture if you want to share! You enter all the ingredients then divide into portions to get a calorie count. I've done this for chili and such, again save it to favorites then you don't have to enter the information next time you make it. Also if you are not sure of how many portions you can play with that till you get the calorie count you want.

For rice and noodles I go with the general rather than worrying about them. 2oz of pasta dry, and one cup of rice cooked.

Edited by: 3RDTIMEISACHARM at: 4/2/2012 (20:57)
JBUUTY1 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (9,576)
Posts: 34
3/20/12 2:36 P

I looked in the "More with Less Cookbook," which has articles about eating healthy and so forth. It says that 1 cup of dry beans cooks up into 2 1/2 cups of cooked beans. It does vary a bit from one type of bean to another. There is a chart on page 38 of the cookbook for six types of beans. I'm not certain of copyright issues about reproducing the chart here.

But multiplying the cups of dry beans added by 2.5 should work for all but kidney beans, which needs to be multiplied by 4. The same works for lentils: 2.5.

The recipe calculator on SparkPeople actually has two places for entering ingredients. In the one, with the button that says, "Add an Ingredient" and you get a pop-up window, the website looks up possibilities and you choose one. This is what is used to calculate the nutritional value of the meal.

So what needs to be done when cooking with dry beans, you need to enter the cooked amount of beans. (For example, if you used 1 cup of dry navy beans, you would enter 2.5 cups here, because that is the amount it will expand to cooked.)

Then there is another space to enter ingredients, where it says "Ingredients List," and you enter the ingredients in a list. This is what appears in the recipe. So if I look up your recipe, I will see this list. In this list, you need to enter 1 cup of dry navy beans - NOT 2.5 cups.)

Rice is similar. It cooks to 3X its volume, so 1 cup of uncooked rice will become 3 cups of cooked rice.

I hope this isn't too confusing.

3/20/12 10:39 A

Entering our own information is an imperfect solution since labels often don't include information for all the vitamins and minerals, but just the calories and fat/carbs/protein.

It's also weird that the "official" white flour entry only uses cups. The ingredient listings really do need some updating.

@Dropcone: Of course I measure portions, but I do not eat straight lentils which have had nothing added. Usually there are onions, carrots, and assorted other ingredients in the end product. Therefore, it is no longer possible to measure just cooked lentils. More power to you if you dig plain food or don't cook it all together, though. :)

Edited by: NIGHTFLOAT at: 3/20/2012 (10:50)
DROPCONE Posts: 1,592
3/20/12 9:45 A

Well, I actually do measure afterward. I mean, I measure all my ingredients before cooking, enter them in as a recipe; then, after the recipe is cooked I measure portions out again to confirm serving sizes and get an accurate serving size for my meal plan. Most of it will be leftovers in my household, so I'm going to be packing it up in portion controlled sizes anyway. I can see how this method would seem redundant in a larger household where there are enough people to eat the recipe all at once.

Most dry ingredients that I eat won't cook well in the portions that I'm supposed to eat them in, so they are going to be cooked first, and measured for eating later anyway.

JBUUTY1 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (9,576)
Posts: 34
3/19/12 3:06 P

I just joined Sparkpeople, and I have the same concern. I cook an awful lot with dry beans. So entered a chili recipe thinking that I'd get somewhat accurate reading of calories and protein intake and so forth. The nutritional info was so far off, that I realized something was wrong. I adjusted it by simply adding extra beans to my dinner in the nutrition tracker. It was an estimate, but certainly closer than it had been.

It would seem that someone with a bit of nutrition background could solve this.

3/19/12 9:44 A

I suppose the solution is to enter them ourselves from the information on the packages. That's assuming we have packages to enter from (and not bulk).

Thank you for confirming my concern. I guess the next time I prepare a recipe using dry goods like that, I will just enter the nutritional info from my packages manually. What a pain in the butt, though!!
It also means that a lot of SparkRecipes out there are not accurate in their nutritional content. :-(

Also thanks for the tip about the rice - that's what I've been doing too - guess I'll have to be more careful!

3/19/12 8:14 A

I find this extremely frustrating, actually. Particularly for rice. It's easier to measure rice when you put it in the pot to cook - so in uncooked form - than to have to jam it all into cups after it's cooked (meanwhile it gets cold) to see how much you ended up with. At first I used the rule that rice doubles when you cook it but I found that to be inaccurate and I was eating more rice than I thought I was. I don't see why uncooked rice, beans, etc, can't be added. Also, they would be more accurate. A half cup of dried beans is a more consistent quantity of food than a cooked cup of beans, which might swell to different sizes depending on the cooking.

In response to the last person: "Wouldn't most dry ingredients become cooked during a recipe?" Yes. But you do all the measuring before it's cooked. My recipes call for x cups uncooked lentils, not x cups cooked lentils. So when I am entering a recipe, I want to enter them in uncooked form. Once other ingredients are mixed in, it's no longer possible to measure just the cooked lentils at the end of the recipe.

I think this is a huge problem and am pretty surprised that in all the years spark's been around, dry ingredients have never been added. It would be an extremely easy thing to fix.

Edited by: NIGHTFLOAT at: 3/19/2012 (08:17)
DROPCONE Posts: 1,592
3/19/12 7:46 A

Wouldn't most dry ingredients, like lentils, become cooked during the execution of a recipe? So it would be redundant to specify "cooked" or "uncooked", because nobody is going to eat them uncooked.

So, I guess I assume that all amounts of such ingredients in the nutrition tracker are cooked.

That doesn't address the vegetable issue though. I don't know enough about it to say if there is a significant difference nutritionally between cooked and uncooked broccoli, except that since I'm far less likely to eat uncooked broccoli, I personally will absorb more nutrients from cooked broccoli!

KENDALL68 Posts: 72
3/19/12 6:06 A

I've wondered about that with vegetables- frozen, raw or cooked- and assume it has to do with the measurement.

3/18/12 6:37 P

I read in the FAQ somewhere on the site that generally items like pasta and rice are calculated in the tracker in cooked/ready-to-serve format. E.g. 1/2 cup of rice means 1/2 cooked rice.
But a lot of ingredients listed in the tracker don't have an uncooked equivalent - for example, I can't find uncooked/dry lentils, only lentils.

That makes it challenging to properly track nutritional info in recipes, where we are intending to use uncooked ingredients.

Do I understand this correctly?
If so, it also means requiring extra care when using Sparkrecipes, as the nutritional info may not be accurate.

Thoughts on dealing with this? Or maybe I'm completely misunderstanding?


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