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    Registered User tadpole25's Avatar
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    5 tips for tracking calories

    1) Track everything!
    This includes all beverages and sodas
    This includes liquor
    This includes sauces, dressings or mayo you put on food, even in small quantities
    The oil that you grease the pan with when cooking.
    The slice of butter or spoon of heavy cream you put into foods.
    The small piece of cheese you snack on.
    The spoonful of peanut butter you eat from the fridge when you're hungry.
    The free little sample of bruschetta you get offered at Costco, you have to track that.
    If your friend gives you 1/4th of their Kit-Kat bar, you have to track that.
    If you work in the food industry, and often taste food, you have to factor that in too.
    For example, if a friend offers me a 3 french fries, I might count it as 50 calories. Maybe that's not accurate, and it's actually 35 calories or 70. But definitely more accurate than adding 0.

    2) Cooking becomes less convenient when tracking calories, because you have to track every ingredient and then divide it by the portion size. If you love to cook everyday, be willing to take the extra time. If you don't enjoy taking the extra time to track, then cook less often or cook simpler recipes maybe. Either way is fine as long as you hit your calories/macros in a way that's enjoyable to you.

    3) Packaged food is easy to track. There may be a stigma against that, but in terms of macros and calories in calories out, I would much rather have a Trader Joes gnocci that provides information than to have a dish from a high-end restaurant that I know nothing about.

    4) When eating out, I go for well known places such as fast food or big chains because they list their nutritional information. I know many will say "big chains are tacky" or "support local moms and pop shops". But it is what it is.

    5) Restaurants add a lot of fat to their foods (butter, oils, heavy cream, mayonnaise, etc). More than you think. Even the veggies are often sauteed in fats. If you have to eyeball calories at a restaurant, estimate toward the higher end. The dish you think is 600 calories could easily be 900.

    Bonus tip. Tracking calories makes you better at eyeballing. If you're used to how much calories each ingredient is, if there are some occasions where you're at a barbeque or eating at a family/friend's house, you'll have a better sense of how much food to put on your plate than someone who never tracks calories. You can get away with eyeballing sometimes. However, if you see yourself gaining a few pounds, stop eyeballing and go back to the bookkeeping. Go back to foods that are easy to track.
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