How to Count Nutrients for Casseroles
Q: How do you cook your own meals, such as spaghetti with sauce, stews, or casseroles, and figure out the amounts of calories, carbohydrates, and fats? I can determine the individual foods, but mixed dishes are very confusing.
A: The best approach is to use an online nutrition database of commonly eaten foods. Most likely nearly all the foods in your recipes will be there. The one published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is ideal. Just search for the calories and carbohydrate and fat grams for the items that provide calories to your dish. Herbs, spices, and bits of garlic contain nearly no calories.
Once you have your totals, divide the counts by the number of servings in the dish. Make note of these figures on the recipe card so you don't have to go through this exercise again.
The good news is you likely have just a few recipes you want to put through this process. And even better news is that for Diabetic Living recipes, the work is already done for you.
Madhu Gadia, M.S., R.D., is a certified diabetes educator.
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