Dealing with the Unknown: Tracking Hidden Calories

One part of effective dieting is counting calories. It is simple to count these calories when you are at home, thanks to food and beverage labels. However, a situation can occur when you find yourself away from home. It is during these times that you must find a way to count calories in your head, so to speak.

There are many situations where you could find yourself unable to track your food. One common location is the all you can eat buffet. Let’s say that you’ve just completed a workout and are ready for a buffet. You might feel nice and full after a huge meal but there is one problem: you have no idea how much fats/protein/calories you’ve eaten. For those on a strict diet, missing many calories can cause huge setbacks.

tracking what you eatAnother common situation where its hard to track food is at a restaurant. Without clear label information, you might yourself doing extra guess work. However, many large restaurants will have features on their website where you can find relevant nutritional information. Don’t be that person scrolling through nutritional information when ordering. It is wise to prepare a few meal options before you leave for the restaurant. Otherwise, you are likely to be bugged by staff asking you what you want to order every five minutes.

Use Your Hands

You’ve probably been told in the past to never use your hands while eating. However, when managing weight it can be useful to use your hands! A rule of thumb to follow is that one cup of food equals the size of your fist. Taking food measurements with your hands isn’t an exact science but is better than doing nothing.

Write it Down for Later

If you don’t want to look weird staring at your fists in public, write down what you’ve eaten. There are plenty of apps that are great at tracking food. You will often find that you need the barcode information to scan some foods. If you can’t find a food using the search function, pick the next best food.

Bust Out Some Math

I am not a big fan of having to do math. However, some quick calculations will help you out in tracking your calories against unknown foods. If you know that an average piece of bread has, let’s say, 150 calories, we have a good beginning calculation. If you get a sandwich at a restaurant, you can add 300 calories because of the two pieces of bread. If watching protein and ham has 7 grams per piece, you can say a sandwich might have about 28 grams of protein.

There you have it, a few easy ways to track food when you are in a situation that calls for mental math. Follow these tips and you will no longer be scared of eating something that you can’t track. If you are noticing big fluctuations from eating off of a normal diet plan, stop eating those foods. We will all find ourselves in situations where tracking food is hard to do. Family events during holiday months are another source of hidden calories. You don’t want to be that person ruining the family vibe by asking how many calories are in grandma’s meatloaf. A special note that I want to make is, when eating with family, save the food tracking for when you are back home. Over time, learning to track your food in mysterious situations will become second nature to you.

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