Calorie Reality Check

Chowhound Caralien tipped me off to the University of Illinois’ Nutrition Analysis Tool website. While it looks a little dated, the tool is extremely helpful in figuring out if a recipe is healthy. I don’t know if it was designed to do this or not, but it seems to work pretty well.

To get started, you enter your age, then the first ingredient that’s in your recipe into a box. That will take you to a page of matching foods from the tool’s database so you can select the exact one you want (most things are in there, but you may have to choose the closest match for specialty items). Then you enter the amount of that item. Thankfully, it offers measurements people actually use in cooking, like cups, tablespoons, teaspoons, and fluid ounces, so there’s no need to sit down and convert cups to grams or other complicated stuff. Continue entering all the foods and amounts in the recipe, then click “analyze foods” and it’ll spit out an analysis of all those ingredients showing the total calories, protein, fat, carbs, sodium, vitamin A, vitamin C, saturated fat, and cholesterol. It will also tell you the recommended daily amounts of each item, and what percentage the recipe will cover.

Don’t forget to divide the numbers by however many servings the recipe is supposed to make or you’ll get sticker shock when your lasagne adds up to more than 5,000 calories (the recipe served 10, so it was really around 500 calories a serving).

Nutritional Analysis Tool 2.0.

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