We all find ourselves wondering how many calories does the food we consume contain. Thanks to technology and especially the internet nowadays we can find that out almost in the blink of an eye. The credit no doubt should also go to the revised food regulations, which have made it compulsory to display the nutritonal values of each edible item on the pack making it quite easy to know how many calories are in your bag of chips, or that bar of chocolate. All this flood of information just makes us more curious about our home cooked food which comes without any labels or packs. Does my homecooked food have the same calorie as your homecooked food and is equally healthy?
Most of us assume that home cooked food is healthy. While it can be very healthy when prepared under certain conditions, it can’t be used as a blanket statement across all kinds of home cooked food (remember even a samosa can be prepared at home- that doesn’t make it a healthy food!).
Thus besides using quality fruits and vegetables, there are other three factors which decide how “healthy” the food is:
Note that many spices like cinnamon, pepper, turmeric, coriander and cumin are almost calorie free plus are high on antioxidants, hence should be used as often as possible. Read about the health benefits of all the indian spices.
To find out how much calories are present in your home cooked food just follow these simple steps. First you need a small weighing scale, easily available in the market. And some measuring spoons and cups. Also, get hold of a calorie chart for basic grains, vegetables and fruits that you use. You can also use Fitho’s calorie counter to search for your type of food, calculate the calories and see its full nutrition facts.
But when calculating it yourself, just find out the weight of your cooking ingredient by using the weighing scale. After that refer to the calorie chart for the basic calorie count for each ingredient by weight. To make you understand better we will explain this with the help of an example – Yellow Dal. Read about the health benefits of dal.
As a standard, raw Dal pulses provide 4 calories per gram. Say you use a 100 gms for cooking. You add water (0 calories), salt and spices (negligible calories) and 1 tbsp olive oil (119 calories). The total dish is about 520 calories. Say this produces 8 cups of Dal. That is about 65 calories (520 divided by 8 ) per cup of Dal.
Similarly, it is easy to tell the calorie count of a cheese omelette – how much cheese, how many eggs, and other ingredients – add the calories to get the total value.
As standard values, 1 gm of carbohydrates provides 4 calories, 1 gm of protein provides 4 calories and 1 gm of fat provides 9 calories.
The whole procedure might seem a little cumbersome at first but once you figure it out, it will just boil down to simple maths. To make things easier, just take a print-out of the calorie count of the basic foods that you use. Most of us use many of the standard food items repeatedly and they’re cooked the same way each time, so very soon, you’ll have the calorie counts for all your home cooked Indian foods.
While calorie counting is important, it’s important to consume healthy food rich in nutrients. 100 calories of chips and fruits have the same calorific value, but very different nutritious value. So, besides the quantity, the quality of calories is equally important!
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