How to Track Calories, Fat, Etc., for Foods Without Labels
Q: I'm trying to eat more organic foods, but a lot of natural products don't have labels. How do I track calories, fat, carbs and other important nutrition facts?
A: This is the problem with most calorie counters and other online nutrition trackers today—they assume you're eating processed junk. You're ahead of the game by making the switch to nutrient-dense, minimally processed foods. When you eat a variety of fruits, veggies, and carbs packed with fiber, the rest will work itself out.
While you can't keep track of the exact numbers for calories, fat, carbs and other things without a label, you can be mindful of your portion sizes. The easiest way to do this is by learning the basic exchange of food for calories, fat, etc, to estimate your total intake. Use the general guidelines below to keep track of your approximate intake of calories, carbs, fat and protein.
1 cup raw leafy, 1/2 cup cooked or raw , 3/4 cup juice and 1/2 cup of cooked dry beans all have around 25 calories, 5 g of carbs and 2 g of protein.
1 medium-sized fruit, 1/2 cup canned or chopped fruit, 1/4 cup fruit juice or 2 tbsp of dried fruit contain about 60 calories and 15 g of carbs.
Breads and Cereals
1 slice of bread, 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal, 1/2 cup cooked rice or pasta all have around 75 calories, 15 g of carbs, 3 g of protein and 0-1 g of fat.
Meats, Eggs, Nuts
1 ounces meat. a handful of nuts, 1 egg and a 1/2 cup of legumes run about 75 calories, 7 g of protein, 4-6 g of fat (varies depending on cut of meat).
1 tbsp olive oil, flaxseed oil, fish oil, or peanut butter has around 72 calories and 8 g of fat.
1 cup milk, 1/2 cup cottage cheese and 1 slice of cheese have about 100 calories, 12g of carbs, 8 g of protein and 0-4 g of fat.
About The Author
Amanda Carlson-Phillips – Amanda Carlson-Phillips is the vice president of nutrition and research at Athletes' Performance. As a registered dietitian, she has provided educational seminars and individual counseling to a variety of professional and elite sports organizations.