Thursday, 22 January 2015

My New Online Toy: Recipe Calorie Counter

Happy Thursday everyone!

I know I don't usually write a blog on Thursdays, but my enthusiasm for my new found gadget is so overwhelming that I had to share it with my readers and wider online community.

I found a website that calculates the overall calories and calories per serving of any recipe you give it; you simply list the ingredients and their measurements, and it does all the maths. Not only does it calculate the calories, it analyses all the nutritional information as well! Sometimes it may get confused by an ingredient, but when it does it highlights it in red, and asks you to choose from a list of ingredients that it thinks you mean.

This has been both rather entertaining, and rather horrifying, because now I'm fully aware of how many calories there are in any one of my baked treats. I ran a few recipes through it and was absolutely shocked by the results.

Here are a few examples:

Moulded Chocolate Truffles: about 85 per single truffle. PER SINGLE TRUFFLE.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecakes: 464 per mini cheesecake, and I could easily eat 2 in a sitting
Malted Chocolate Ice-Cream with Caramel Swirl: 2245 calories overall, but if you consider a recommended scoop size for ice-cream is generally 45g (using the metric hurts me a bit inside), that's 160 calories per scoop...
Orange Mocha Gateaux: 7960 calories overall, about 670 per slice (if you cut it into 12 slices)... I ate 2 slices at my brother's birthday party.

Conversely, things that I thought would be super calorific but turned out not so:

Ginger Ale: 122 calories per 9 ounce (250 millitre) glass, which is a good auld glassful, and most of that comes from the sugar, so by reducing the sugar you can reduce the calories.
Chicken and Ham Pie: 293 calories per quarter pie, which is plenty for one person
Wheat-Free Pizza Base, topped with Mozzarella and Tomato Sauce: 350 calories per quarter pizza, which is also plenty for one person
Coconut Lime Cheesecakes: 298 calories per cake, which is good 165 calories fewer than its peanut butter relative

It seems no coincidence to me that the savoury, meal style foods are lower in calories that the sweets, because I tend to use a lot of "clean" ingredients when cooking meals, ie. natural, whole ingredients, and I knew the sweets would be fairly dense, but I had no idea how dense! I had no idea that an entire layer cake could have nearly 8000 calories in it, that genuinely shocked me!

Now, don't get me wrong: I've never really had an issue with my weight. As much as I sometimes obsess over being fat, like many women do, I have never been overweight no matter how dangerously close I've got to stepping outside the optimum categories for healthy weight (the BMI 18 to 24 category, the Body Fat 20%-31% category), so I must be using the calories I eat somehow, whether through cycling or walking to work, or Taekwondo training 2 to 3 times a week for a hour.

This has been quite a revelation to me, and will very muvh change my attitude to eating! I feel like doing a calorie comparison chart for my kitchen, just to keep these things in mind. Maybe that's bordering on fanatical, or maybe it's sensible... not sure. Only time will tell.

THIS TIME LAST YEAR: No-Churn, No-Cook, Practically No-Effort Chocolate Ice-Cream (That's as good as Ben & Jerry's)

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