I agree with a lot of the other posters. I think you should ask your parents for the recipe, or the approximate recipe, and enter it into SparkRecipes. If your parents are supportive of your new, healthy lifestyle, I would imagine they would be more than happy to work with you to figure out what the nutrition information is for the items they cook.
Estimating between what they make and what exists already on SP is tricky. I do it on occasion (and I do what the previous poster does, I look at the nutrition information for several different items and try to choose on that is middle-of-the-road, as the nutrition information can vary greatly). However, I don't like to do that a whole lot, because nutrition information can vary greatly.
A bowl of the same type of soup could be 400 calories at one place and 600 calories at another place or 500 mg of sodium at one place and 1,500 mg of sodium at another. Small variances between the recipes, which might not seem like a lot, can result in huge changes.
Fitness Minutes: (18,761)
1,243 6/7/13 11:39 A
I've done the comparison from a restaurant before, but I usually look at 2 or 3 and take an average of those numbers because for example, a turkey sandwich here can be VERY different in calories than a turkey sandwich there.
And cooking with your parents is a great option too!! Now that I moved out, I'm constantly swapping recipes with my grandmother which is super fun :) Get on board with that now and you won't regret it!
6/7/13 11:28 A
Ditto Cheetara on finding a comparable commercially prepared meal to use as a guide.
In situations like that, I make my best guess then track it. Tracking something is better than not tracking. Plus, even if they cooked the meal, you can still measure or weigh it to keep your portion sizes reasonable. For example, measure out a serving (1 cup) of the barley soup and track it in Spark as 1 cup of barley soup from a can or restaurant.
I think this is the perfect opportunity to cook with your parents! Learn the recipe, which you can then enter the entire thing into the recipe section along with the number of portions it serves, and then you can track individual portions of it. You may also be able to guess what's in your bowl - a couple ounces of beef, maybe a half cup of barley, a cup of beef broth - if you've been measuring until now you may have a pretty good idea what these measurements look like.
Beware the "it's healthy so I don't have to weigh/track it" mentality - I managed to get overweight (and nearly obese) on mostly homecooking, and healthy food at that (salmon, salads, etc), because I didn't measure anything or manage portion control. Overeating anything can lead to gaining, even if it's healthy food.
Fitness Minutes: (1,094)
38 6/6/13 2:41 P
so i like the concept of tracking all the calories i eat, but i eat a lot of homemade food that my parents make that I don't know the calorie information of! (I'm 19 years old living at home for the summer haha) for example my mom made this really good beef+barley soup the other night that has tons of veggies in it but I don't know all the ingredients she uses or the amount of everything she puts in so I have a hard time tracking it... This happens quite frequently because both my parents like to cook and generally they're pretty healthy meals so i don't bother weighing everything especially when I don't know how many calories are even in it.