Image from Pixabay by PublicDomainPictures

Did I Fail at Counting Calories?

A repetitive mistake

Since I started counting calories there has been one thing that I have struggled with. Wanting to cook my own food from scratch vs. counting calories of individual items.

If you buy prepackaged food and keep your meals simple it’s fairly easy to count calories. But I love cook! I love mixing things together and seeing how it turns out. The problem is some of the food I buy doesn’t have nutritional facts on the package. Other foods do but but then they expand when cooking, like grains. Cooking grains has caused a lot of debate due to improper information provided by the sellers.

Read these articles and forums posts and you’ll understand.

Rice Nutrition Facts
Rice cooked and uncooked calories?
Do you weigh your rice raw or cooked?

My Mistake Was Bigger

In an effort to mix it up and get more carbs and fiber in to stay full a little longer I ended up mixing four super healthy food, raw, and then trying to count calories per meal.

At first I didn’t think this would be too bad. I knew it would be a bit of a headache but if been learning and created my own spreadsheets with formulas that I think work for helping find the weight and calories for food. I still need to do my research but in my head it makes sense.

100 grams of food A + 100 grams of food B = 200 grams. Let’s say I’m splitting this evenly over two days then I have 100 grams each day. Assuming all things equal I would have 50 grams of A and 50 grams of B each day. So when counting calories per day I would count the calories generated from 50 grams of each. Seems simple enough.

Things Keep Cooking

My grains: Brown Rice, Quinoa, Green Lentils, Chia Seeds. I weighed them out and mixed them into my pressure cookers. Closed the lid, let them cook and tried to calculate how to split that amount up for five days evenly and how many calories it would be.

Assuming all things equal I could easily split the mix up into five equal portions of 145 grams each day. I did the rest of my calculations to see how many calories I would have. This is where things started going wrong. Apparently 145 grams would net me 522 calories. This would be 1/3 of my total caloric intake for the whole day. This was just part of my lunch meal, not the whole thing.

Expanding The Problem

I may be doing the math wrong, I haven’t actually looked anything up to see if I’m counting those calories right. The problem becomes more compounded when all of my ingredients are grains, I weigh them raw, and I don’t measure the water or the pot I cook them in.

Once the food was done I was hesitant to serve it. I did anyways. I made my five equal portions of 145 grams and packaged them into my containers. The pot that I cooked the grains in was still half-full!

At this point there are a multitude of problems. The grains expanded but I don’t know if some expanded more than others. This causes my weight calculations to be off because the brown rice may weigh 3x more whereas the Green Lentils may have stayed the same size. Then there is the left overs in the pot. I could weigh them and subtract the different but I made the mistake of measuring out their volume not their weight when adding it into the pot.

What Did I Learn?

Needless to say I didn’t do a good job counting my calories this week. I also have a packed week with after work activities catching up with friends and eating dinner at restaurants, which is always great!

My FitBit app is sitting empty besides my breakfast and morning snack and my attempt at calculating my lunch.

Over all I need to do more research. I need to see if there is a good way to combine food and keep counting them. I really don’t want to prep one food item at a time and then combine it. However I think I need to take a step back for now and do that. Until I learn more.

Small Victories †