One of the most common requests or questions I get from Healthy Living How To readers is what is the nutrition information for a particular recipe or why don’t I give the information. I have tip-toed around this for the past year, so I figured it was about time I shared my position on calories and macronutrient micromanagement.
I absolutely love reading your posts–you have such great ideas! However, I was wondering why you don’t post the nutrition information as well, or if you could add it at the end of your posts? I think it would be very beneficial to everyone, especially those who are conscious of the macronutrients they consume. My dietitian is having me divide my calories into percentages of carbs, protein, and fat–and I would love to make some of your recipes, however, I don’t know how to “count” them.
If you are counting, tracking or calculating calories and the related macronutrients to control your weight I am not here to talk you out of it. In fact, I believe for many people it is a useful activity. Just like riding a bike, completely overhauling your dietary lifestyle takes practice. The activity of tracking and journaling is the same as training wheels on a bike. After awhile though, you get the hang of making healthy choices, you learn which foods keep you satiated and which ones don’t. You learn proper portion sizes for your body and how different foods make you feel. You may still be a bit wobbly, but eventually you take the training wheels off.
On the flip side, some of us get a little too dependent on our training wheels and never learn how to ride a bike or rather eat intuitively without them. We ride our bike with the training wheels on a bit too long or never take them off. A simple pleasure and biological need, eating healthy real food, becomes a game of control and manipulation. Nothing passes our lips unless it is weighed, measured and recorded first.
With all that being said, the question at hand is why don’t I post the nutritional information for my recipes. The answer is really quite simple…I don’t ride my bike with training wheels anymore.
If you are at a place in your healthy eating journey where you are using tracking as a tool to replace old dietary habits and learn new ones, then it is in your best interest to use a nutrition tracking system like Fitday or Life Time Fitness’ MyPlan. You can plug recipes into the software, which will help you track the individual ingredients and understand what macronutrients they contain. In doing so you will learn to look at a recipe and know whether you can make it as is or change it.
For example, I follow some of the Paleo recipes sites, which often use sweeteners like honey, maple syrup or dates. While these ingredients are “natural” they are very high in sugar and subsequently carbohydrates, two things which I choose to reduce in my diet. When I see these ingredients in a recipe, I know I would need to change the recipe in order for it to fit with my dietary lifestyle. If you are unsure whether a recipe fits your plan by looking at the recipe, use one of the mentioned tracking sites. For myself, I’d rather not invest the time into calculating nutritional information but instead use the time to create more recipes and content for you.