What Are the Best Tips for Calorie Tracking?

Amanda R. Bell

Some of the best tips for calorie tracking include keeping a food journal or using online recordkeeping. For those who lack the time to keep detailed notes on what they consume, becoming more aware of the foods eaten and their nutritional benefits may be helpful. Many people benefit by learning proper portion sizes or using their plate as a guide for calorie tracking.

Maintaining a food journal is a great way to track your eating habits.
Maintaining a food journal is a great way to track your eating habits.

Studies have found that many people are unaware of the amount of calories they consume on a given day. To keep track of what is being eaten, a food journal can be advantageous. The basic concept consists of writing down everything that is consumed including the amount of calories in each item. A food journal can be helpful in making a person more aware of what he or she is eating and can be extremely useful in sticking with a calorie restricted diet.

A kitchen scale may help users count calories.
A kitchen scale may help users count calories.

A simpler means of calorie tracking can be found online. Several websites offer both free and relatively low cost food journals. These applications allow users to choose from a vast variety of foods to add to their journal, and many have the option of adding personal recipes complete with calorie information. As most popular foods that people eat are already included in most of these applications, calorie tracking in this way is generally much easier than writing everything down. It can also make monitoring salt, fat, and other nutritional information simple.

Internet recipe calculators work similarly to online food journals. These calculators allow users to input each ingredient from their recipes into a calculator and then break the entire thing down into servings, thereby allowing relatively precise calorie tracking information on homemade meals. This information can then be added into a food journal, both online or in writing, or used to help people become more aware of how to cook more healthfully.

For many people, tracking calories exactly can be time consuming and hard to stick with. In these cases, it can be helpful to learn what a serving actually looks like; many people underestimate how many servings of a product they are consuming. For example, measuring out servings from large packages can make it easier to avoid overeating by munching straight from the box or bag.

Investing in a kitchen scale can help those looking to track calories weigh each individual food and keep their intake at a decent level. For example, a serving size of meat is 3 ounces, and most dietitians recommend having no more than two servings of meat per meal depending on one’s activity level. A store-bought chicken breast is typically well above this level.

By weighing portions and tracking calories, one can stick with recommended portion sizes without writing everything down. Those looking to track calories without a lot of work can also use their plate as a guide. As a general rule, protein and starch should only take up 1/4 each of a plate while vegetables should take up the other half.

Chicken breasts are a good source of lean protein.
Chicken breasts are a good source of lean protein.

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