Update: The old website, caloriecount.about.com is being shut down and rolled into their new site, VeryWell.com, which introduced a new version of the same tool. I updated the post below with the new links and screenshots.
Some of the most common questions I get about my recipes are about calculating nutrition information. “How many calories does this soup have?” or, “how many grams of fat are in these cookies?”
Up until now, my answer has always been something like, “I dunno…” because this is a much more complicated question than it seems. While there are countless websites and mobile apps designed to help you calculate nutrition for different ingredients, that’s not too helpful for entire recipes. Finding the grams of fat in one serving of my Sesame Rice Bowl, for example, is no trivial matter… First, you’d have to look up the fat in brown rice. And then sun-dried tomatoes. And then a few slices of cucumber. Each of these ingredients would then need to be written down, divided by weird fractions for each serving, and then added together. The end result (assuming the math was correct) would still be a rough estimate and you would have to start at the beginning for calories, carbs, sodium, and more until your calculator catches fire and you throw your hands up in frustration.
Calculating nutrition facts by hand is an absolute nightmare.
Thankfully, dear readers, there’s a better way. I was excited to recently discover a free recipe nutrition calculator that allows you to create a nutrition label for any recipe you find online, and I thought it could be useful to give you a quick overview of how it works. The tool is located at VeryWell.com and it’s incredibly simple to use: to make a complete nutrition label, all you have to do is paste a list of ingredients into a text box, click a button, and it’ll calculate out all the details in seconds – complete with a per-serving breakdown of calories. Here’s a quick tutorial of how this tool can be used…
Find the recipe in question, highlight the entire ingredient list, and right-click to copy everything. For this example, we’re using my recent Sunflower Pesto Tabbouleh. You can also do this with a printed recipe, just have your ingredient list handy by your computer.
Head over to https://www.verywell.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4129594 and paste the list of ingredients right into the text box. Take a second to look everything over and ensure it’s just one ingredient per line. You can also adjust the number of servings to get a readout for each portion if you so desire.
Click “Analyze Recipe” and watch the magic happen. Behind the scenes, this tool is figuring out which ingredients you’re using and the quantities of each. It’s smart enough to interpret most wordings of certain foods, but it may need additional clarification on some ingredients. If that’s the case, those ingredients will be highlighted in yellow. For example, it didn’t understand “1 lemon (juice)” but by clicking the yellow area, I was able to clarify this as one whole lemon. It also needed clarification on the curly parsley. It’s also a good idea to look over each ingredient and ensure it didn’t do anything funny.
After fixing those errors, the page automatically updates with a complete breakdown of the calories in each ingredient (on a per serving basis), plus a nutrition label for the entire recipe (also per serving).
Amazing! If you aren’t already using this tool, it’s definitely something worth bookmarking for future use. Beyond just online recipes, it is also extremely useful for recipes in cookbooks or ones you create on the fly – simply type in everything you added to your meal and it’ll automagically create a label for you.
Finally, I can put an end to the, “how many calories are in this?” comments you have all been leaving on my recipes. 🙂