HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >

Discussion

Anyone use software to calculate nutritional values in recipies?

  • j
  • 7

I am a calorie counter and need to get a better handle on some of the trace nutrients I'm eating. I have the entire USDA database of foods and nutritional values but it is a PITA when I'm making something to look-up each individual item, and add up all the values for the individual items I am using. Is there anything that will do it for me?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I used Weight Watchers for a short time but it is not great. I have tried a few of the free ones and they are tough and you need to pay the fee for all the cool bells and whistles. They is some good ones out there that will save recipes and have many name brands on them. The best one I used came with a nutrition book I had to buy for a class. The book was 75 bucks and with it came the disk and password for their website. Good luck!

    1. CHeck out AccuChef- http://www.accuchef.com/index.php I tried out a bunch of different recipe software programs a couple years ago and it came up as my favorite as it uses the USDA nutritional database, lets you customize which nutritients you want to see in the nutritional info (and it gave the widest option of nutrients), it lets you import recipes from just about any format pretty quickly. Plus it had one of the best trial periods so I could really test it out- use it 60 times, and if you leave it up & running that can last a long time, unlike other recipe software programs that give you 7 days to 'test drive'. You can check out this link to AccuChef's comparison to other recipe software programs: http://www.accuchef.com/compare.php The price isn't bad either, at $20, which includes upgrades, which most other programs don't include. AccuChef didn't take long to learn the ins & outs of- it was really natural to use, plus I like that I knew where they where getting the nutritional info from (USDA) and that I could even add my own items into the nutritional database if I needed to. If you are already using the USDA database, it will be really easy to learn how to use (that is biggest learning curve- how foods are listed in the database).

      Another option to look into would be diet software, like FitDay.com Its been a long time since I used their free on-line version, but I do know it lets you track some nutritional aspects. I do have their desktop version, which was around $20 also. It is good for tracking day to day if you tend to eat fairly similar things and you can custom enter items & recipes. It still doesn't let you analyze as many nutritional details as AccuChef does. Even though it was the first software like this I ever used, it seems clunky after using AccuChef and can have some weirdness if you try to change a custom recipe.

      I don't work for AccuChef or anything, just someone who uses their software regularly and is very happy with. Download it & give it a try-

      1. The current version of Master Cook will give a nutritional analysis of a recipe. I don't know how accurate the results are or how inclusive the ingredient database is though.

        1 Reply
        1. re: LabRat

          I've compared it against recipes I've been given that already have the nutritional/calorie count included, and it's pretty good. But you do have to match the ingredients in their database, however.

          Here's a list of 50 nutritional analyzer tools (links) that might help the OP.

          http://www.collegetrainingschoolsonli...

          But it looks as if each need to have quantities and ingredients added separately, vs. being able to copy/paste from a recipe online to gather that info in one fell swoop.

          Here's are a couple of sites that seems to allow you create a recipe to get nutritional info of the entire recipe:

          http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe...

          http://www.nutritiondata.com/mynd/myr...

        2. If you have a working knowledge of MS Access, you can download the USDA nutrient database and create your own program. In fact, most calorie calculators and nutrient calculators are based upon the USDA database.

          ~edit... I just read the full details in yoru question... looks like you have the USDA info.

          1. I've used nutritiondata.com and it's easy to use. The results are displayed in several formats which make them easy to analyze. Ingredient input is easy. There are lots of options for quantitty entry. You can create a custom entry from a label if you happen to find something they don't have in the database. You can even create custom meals that you might repeat like breakfast. I have one for breakfast with an orange, breakfast with an apple and so on.

            1. While a little late to the ball game, it has been already stated that most programs require you to manually enter everything which becomes a hassle.

              What has not been said is that these programs are guestimates at best, even with the FDA nutritional database. The nutrition labels you get on canned foods etc are done in their own testing labs after the product is made. Why? Because there are many complimentary foods that counteract the default nutritional values of individual food items. The nutritional database has no way to extend to that.

              As an example, onions counteract sodium content - if you take the values of table salt + a regular size onion vs a real testing after cooking an onion and salt together (same portions) the sodium counts etc will be different.

              If you are just worried about not eating the wrong foods then here is a good rule ... if you don't think you should, then don't. The thing that kills more people than bad eating habits is stress. The thing that causes weight gain more than poor eating habits, is stress. One of the primary things people stress on in this day and age seems to be "am I eating right?" or their appearance. Get rid of the stress and you won't have half the issues you think you have.