Counting calories is a glorious hobby. It can quickly consume all of your free time and then some. You can turn your weekly supermarket shop into a marathon of calculations and estimations. If you’d prefer to eat healthy than to start a new hobby, counting calories may not be the way to go and if you are going to do it, you will want to make it as simple and quick as possible. See my shortcuts for counting calories below.
Let’s start with a simple thought first though- not all calories are created equal. You can consume 500 calories in a bar of chocolate or in breakfast cereal, toast and pasta. Merely counting the calories does not give you an indication of how valuable a food is so focus first and foremost on the nutritional value of the food your are consuming. So here is calorie counting made easy –
1) Don’t count vegetables. There is no need to work out calorie counts for any vegetables. You can always consume as many vegetables as you like, regardless of what other dietary restrictions you might have. The great thing about this is that it cuts out a lot of counting.
2) Use an online calculator to work out your most common meals. For example, if you have pizza every Friday night, work out how many calories it is per slice.
3) Use an online calculator to work out one serve portions of common ingredients. For example, calculate the calories in an average serve of salad dressing or two slices of bread. This was you can easily order when you are out, or even make a meal at home, knowing approximately how many calories it will have.
Between knowing the values of your favorite meals and snacks and of key ingredients you will always be able to quickly calculate the approximate value of a meal. With practice you will be able to easily estimate portion sizes and ingredients. And overall this method is a lot quicker than individually calculating every meal.