It can be really stressful and time consuming to try to calculate points or all up calories in the middle of cooking. I get that. I do much better when I do the research and calculate everything ahead of time. That way when it’s time to cook, the calculations are all done.
If you are following Weight Watchers, I suggest writing the points+ value on everything you buy with a permanent marker. You can make this part of your grocery shopping. Do it as you are putting it in your cart or as you are putting things away at home. (Doing it before you put it in your cart may help you make better choices with what you buy, too!) This will make meal time less stressful because you won’t have to worry/think about the values.
This might also stop you from making a choice you will regret. If you are grabbing something for the wrong reason and see the big black number on the side of the box, you might think twice. You might stop and think about WHY you are eating and if it is worth that many points or not. Even if you KNOW the points, seeing the number might be another reminder to make a choice that fits in your budget.
If you are making a recipe, I also suggest doing the calculations in advance. You can download my recipe calculator spreadsheet and save multiple copies of it (one per recipe) so you can quickly re-calculate totals if you need to change an ingredient. For more info, read my Recipe Calculator post here.
It can also seem overwhelming at the grocery store if you are trying to buy new things or figure out the “best” version of an ingredient to buy. I suggest taking a research trip to the grocery store when you have time to browse, not when you are doing your weekly shopping trip. Take a list of things that you use all the time or want to use in your favorite recipes. Compare labels and write down your favorites (or take pictures with your phone to write down later). You can also do some of this research online, but it seems easier to me to just walk the aisles where I normally shop to see what brands they carry. It doesn’t do any good to find an item online if they never carry it at your store!
Once you have done your research trip to the store, you can use this information to calculate your recipe nutritional values. If you have all the leg work done before it’s time to cook, it will be MUCH easier. Then you can just follow the recipe and not have to think about calories while cooking!
Check out all my Habits of a Loser posts!!