Where To Find Nutrition Information Online
When trying to stick to a diet, one of the best approaches that we’ve found for our clients is food logging.
Yes, it can seem like a bit of a pain in the ass at first, but it works and is incredibly effective once you get used to it.
Over the last few years, food logging has actually gotten considerably easier, due to the introduction of many (often free) logging apps and websites.
These include Fatsecret, MyFitnessPal, Cronometer, and FitDay, just to name a couple of the big ones.
However, one challenge that our clients sometimes have is where to find the nutrition information for the foods that they’ve eaten.
When you are eating cooked meals at home, this is all pretty straightforward.
All of the nutrition info is either listed on the packaging, which you’ll then enter into your logging apps if it’s not already listed in there.
For other foods, like meats, you can often simply log the generic version that is already in the system.
For instance, you would log a lean chicken breast as “chicken breast, boneless, skinless” in Fatsecret, selecting the appropriate weight in oz or grams for the amount you ate.
However, there are other cases where you may not know the nutrition of the food you ate.
This often happens when eating out at restaurants, or even with packaged foods that you don’t have the nutrition info for.
In this article, I’m going to walk through a couple of methods that I use myself – and advise my clients to use – to find nutrition information online, so that you can log your food as accurately as possible.
Visit The Company Website
Now many items from popular chain restaurants are already listed in most of the food logging apps, so all you’ll typically have to do is search for them and select what you ate.
However, there are also cases where what you ate may not be listed in your logging app of choice.
In these situations, the first thing that I would do is to visit the website of the restaurant or the manufacturer of the food item.
For chain restaurants, you will be able to find the nutrition info almost 100% of the time on their website (this is often legally mandated).
So if you ate at Ruby Tuesday, and that delicious Pretzel Burger you had wasn’t listed in your logging app, then you would simply head over to www.rubytuesday.com and poke around until you found the section that listed the nutritional info.
Alternatively, you could just do a search in Google for “ruby tuesday nutrition” and you’ll usually be able to find it that way very quickly.
Then, you would simply find what you ate, and manually enter the calories and macros for it in your logging app that one time.
This can take a couple minutes, but it will then be added to the database so in the future you’ll just be able to search for it quickly and log it like you would anything else.
Now while this is most effective for large, chain restaurants, you’d be surprised at how many smaller, local restaurants are starting to list their nutrition info on their websites as well.
Pretty much every small business has a website these days, so just search for the business name on Google, find their website, and poke around to see if they list their nutrition.
Search On Calorie King Or Nutritionx
Now if you can’t find what you ate on the restaurant’s website, then the next step is to use one of the independent nutrition websites.
For this, I would recommend searching for what you ate on both Calorie King and Nutritionix.
In many cases, you’ll be able to find the calorie and macronutrient info for what you ate on at least one of these 2 sites.
Then, once you’ve found it, just enter it in your food logging app like you normally would, and you’re good to go.
Now sometimes you just won’t be able to find nutrition information online for what you ate.
It may be that you ordered something from a small, local place, or that you are trying to log a home-cooked meal (that you didn’t cook).
In these cases, the best thing that you can do is to try and find an appropriate stand-in item for what you ate.
So if you ate a cheeseburger from your favorite diner, you can potentially just log that as “cheeseburger” (which your logging app should already have nutrition info for).
This won’t be as accurate as finding the actual nutrition information for that particular burger, but it is obviously better than nothing.
Another option in this case would be to try to log all of the obvious ingredients separately, which should give you a more accurate idea of what you ate.
For instance, you might log that diner cheeseburger as 8oz of beef (80% lean), 1 slice of cheddar cheese, and 1 hamburger bun.
Find A Recipe Online
Finally, there are going to be times where you eat something and you have no idea how to log it!
There is nothing listed for it in your favorite food logging app, the restaurant doesn’t have any nutritional information on their website, and there is nothing remotely relevant on Calorie King and Nutritionx.
This can often happen with more obscure dishes, where it is unlikely that someone else would have previously entered a comparable dish in your logging app of choice.
For instance, I had a client that liked to eat Korean food. One of the dishes he ate was called “Jam Bong Soup”, and he had no clue how to log it.
In these cases, the best thing to do is to search for someone’s recipe for that same dish online.
This will often yield a full list of ingredients for something that is pretty similar to what you ate – and then you can just log each of those ingredients separately as a rough approximation of your meal.
You Only Have To Look Once
Now all of this may sound fairly time consuming…
When food logging, most people just want to type in what they ate (or scan the bar code), and be done with it.
Thankfully, you can do this in 95% of cases – however, in that other 5%, by spending 5-10 minutes using one of the above strategies you can generally get a good sense of what you ate.
And the best part is, you only have to do this once.
When you have that same dish again in the future, you’ll already have nutritional info for it saved in your logging app, so you’ll be able to quickly log it again the second time around in a matter of seconds.