How to calculate the caloric content of meals and prepared products.

Often, following the path of proper nutrition and calorie counting, the menu for beginners includes cucumbers, boiled chicken fillets, buckwheat and similar simple products, because it is quite difficult to calculate the number of calories and nutrients per 100 grams of a complex dish. Hence the myths about the monotony and complexity of the diet. In fact, only at first glance, the process seems impractical. In this article, you will learn:

  • why it is necessary to count the caloric content of products and how to do it;
  • basic algorithms for calculating the energy value of the future dish;
  • computer-specific support services and examples.

How to calculate calories in food

At first, the counting procedure may seem time-consuming and tedious. But very soon it will become a habit and will become a comprehensive procedure in preparing a daily menu, as well as training in the gym or at home.

To do this, you will need two basic tools: a kitchen scale, which is sold in any store with household appliances, and tables with caloric content. However, this is not enough to achieve this goal.

To build a quality form, the composition of the food consumed is extremely important. You can also get all your calorie intake from sweets, but everyone perfectly understands that the body quality of this will not be the best. In this sense, it is important that the body receives all the necessary nutrients: proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

Why calculate the caloric content of food

Counting calories is an essential procedure to achieve any goal, whether it is losing weight, maintaining weight, or gaining muscle mass. If you know your daily energy requirement and are able to cope with the calories by calculating recipes for ready meals, then you can easily compose a diet for the day, including your favorite foods.

The main task of calculations is to provide the body with the necessary amount of energy for the entire day.

All products change volume

Due to any heat treatment during the cooking process, the products are fried or evaporated, contributing a certain part of nutrients and calories to the water. As a result, meats, vegetables, cereals, etc. volume will change, but calorie content will remain the same:

  • cereals, pasta – increased volume due to moisture absorption;
  • poultry, meat, fish – lose moisture, decrease in volume;
  • vegetables: they also lose moisture and become smaller.

An example with a protein product: 200 g of chicken fillet contains 226 kcal, and after boiling 150 g of boiled meat are obtained, but its caloric content remains unchanged and is 226 kcal.

An example with complex carbohydrates: 100 g of buckwheat contains 329 kcal, boil in 200 ml of water. The cereal absorbs liquid and increases in volume, but the caloric content remains the same: 329 kcal. By increasing the proportion of water, the volume of the porridge will increase even more, but the calorie content will remain unchanged.

Therefore, any product must be weighed before starting to cook. As a last resort, you can calculate the percentage of the portion eaten. For example, out of 100 g of buckwheat porridge cooked in water, only a third of the finished dish was consumed. To calculate the portion, you need to divide the total calorie content by 3: 329 kcal: 3 = 109.7 kcal

In this case, it is not necessary to count the finished dish, because you know the amount of energy consumed and remaining.

Calculation of calories for a complex dish.

It is important to remember the unbreakable rule when counting: when you add water, the weight of the finished dish increases, and the calories will be 100 grams less. In the event that a final calculation has already been performed and no more ingredients will be added in the future, there is no need to recalculate.

The main assistant will be the formula for calculating the caloric content per 100 g of the prepared dish:

One gram = In calories
100 grams = X calories

Explanation of designations:

  • A (gram) is the total weight of the prepared dish;
  • B (calories) is the total caloric content of all the ingredients of the composition.

To find the unknown (X), it is necessary to multiply the diagonal numbers with each other and then divide by the number that goes diagonally with the unknown:

B * 100: A = calorie data per 100 g of prepared food

Counting calories using a table

You can create a table on your own in Excel format and complete it with all the necessary ingredients. All information on nutrients and calories can be found in special tables or on the packaging.

Calorie counting with services

There are a number of popular services that can calculate the calorie and KBZHU content of meals prepared for you. And sadly, each counter has a downside: The program does an excellent job of accounting for total weight, calories, and nutrients, but it does not account for thermal food processing methods. As a result, the data will be less accurate than manual calculations.

One way or another, a special application or program does an excellent job of counting KBZHU products and all the ingredients in the recipe, you can download it for free for any phone system.


There is another way to quickly and easily calculate the amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates in a prepared dish – this is the FatSecret app. The program also tracks your progress and teaches you how to form a balanced diet. It is possible to enter missing products and write recipes.

The daily menu is very conveniently divided into several meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. In the corresponding window the data of the selected products are entered:

The program does all the calculations for you, analyzing the amount of calories and BJU not only in general, you will also see the amount of energy consumed for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack. At the bottom of the daily diet chart, you can see the end of the day chart, which is extremely convenient for creating a nutrition plan for a specific goal, be it losing weight, gaining muscle mass, or maintaining weight.

Do not forget that the program calculates the calorie content of the products in a single quantity based on the approximate weight of the ingredient, but not precisely. A cucumber can weigh 100 g or 150 g, so it is recommended to enter the data yourself after preliminary weighing.

The exact same principle must be followed when working with mobile applications, entering the amount of food in grams yourself.

Other mobile apps

Diary Nutrition is a free food diary with a simple interface. The main feature is the ability to indicate the exact time of a meal.

Lifesum – in the program, you can specify a goal (weight loss or gain muscle mass), after which the application can independently calculate the required number of calories especially for you, and also recommend a diet according to your tastes . A water tracker is built in and it is possible to sync with other programs to track achievements. The program also assesses your progress on a special scale.

Yazio is a practical calorie calculator that analyzes information about food consumed and physical activity during a month, forming the data in a graph.

MyFitnessPal is a quality development that is popular all over the world. There are around 6 million product names in the database, which are updated daily. The program is considered the best calorie counter for Android.

Categories: food