Cooking from scratch is a great way to know exactly what’s going into your meals. You can tailor things to your taste, cook on a budget and make meals in bulk so weekday eating is a total breeze. But it can be tricky to measure the nutritional values in home cooking, which if you’re trying to calculate macros or you’re following a calorie controlled diet isn’t ideal.
With a little bit of work, it’s quite simple to figure it out, just follow these simple steps…
Firstly, you need to work out your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) and work from there! TDEE is the amount calories your body burns in a 24-hour period, sleeping, working, exercising, playing and even digesting food! This is calculated using your height, weight, age and activity levels and can be calculated using the TDEE Calculator here www.iifym.com in the “Calculators” section!
Get out of the habit of just chucking stuff in a pan and start weighing it before you do. You might be surprised at how much you’re using and to work out the nutritionals you’ll need to know the figures. If possible, use recipes or measures that tell you the weight not the volume – for example grams not tablespoons – it’s much more accurate.
We would highly recommend using an app called MyFitnessPal. This is a super simple way to track all your daily food intake. This can be set up to your exact calorie requirements dependent on your individual goals, as and when you eat your meals throughout the day. Simply input everything into the app.
Unless you’re ravenous, you’re probably not going to eat your batch cooking in one go, so you’ll want to work out the serving size to know the values per portion. This one’s seriously straight-forward! Simply weigh the total, decide how many portions it is, then divide your nutritionals by the number of portions. Shove a portion or two in the freezer, and grab it when you know you’re going to need to eat on the go! Easy!
OK, so it feels like a fair bit of work, but it means you can cook from scratch whilst still tracking what’s important to you. You'll get the hang of it soon enough and be doing it with your eyes closed! You only need to do it once, save all the info (hello spreadsheets!) and next time you come to make it, just use the same ingredients or make the necessary alterations for anything new. Don’t think of it as a diet, think of it as a lifestyle change!
Do you have any top tips for keeping track of what you’re eating? Tweet us @HeckFood and let us know!