Homemade soup can be a challenging dish to calculate the calories, especially since recipes can vary wildly, and it’s tough to portion out the ingredients into individual bowls.
So, how do you determine the calories in homemade soup?
The best way is to use a calorie tracking app. Calories tracking apps can help you determine how many calories and macros are in your food based on the ingredients. It can also help you standardize a portion size to store them in individual containers, making it easier for you to stay within your plan.
In this article, I will teach you how to determine the calories in your homemade soup using two methods. Additionally, I will give you tips on modifying your homemade soup based on your nutritional goals.
Tracking Calories In Homemade Soup: The Manual Method
The first method you can use to determine how many calories are in homemade soup is by using the US Department of Agriculture website. You can find any ingredient you use and add them up using a spreadsheet.
Here are the steps to follow if you will use this method.
Step One: Create A Spreadsheet
Click to make a copy of this spreadsheet:
To keep everything organized, it’s better to create a spreadsheet to write down all the information from all the ingredients you use.
The previous scan help you record everything, or you can always use pen and paper.
Step Two: Measure Everything
To figure out how many calories and macros each food has, we need to measure everything. To get a more accurate result it’s better to weigh each food using a weight scale.
However, if you don’t have a weight scale, you can use cups, tablespoons, or teaspoons to measure each ingredient.
For example, if the recipe asks for 1 cup of carrots, you measure how much it weighs on a food scale to have a more accurate result.
Step Three: Use Website To Determine Calories and Macros
Now that you have written down each ingredient and its measurement, it is time to get the nutritional information. My favorite website to use is the one from the US Department of Agriculture, but there are other websites like Nutrition Data Self that can help you out.
In the search bar, you write down the ingredient you want to search for.
Once you click search, it gives you all the foods related to that keyword.
Choose the one that is the most similar to the ingredient you are using.
If it’s raw, choose the “raw ingredient”, or if you are using it cooked, then use the one that is “cooked”. To get more accurate information, use the one with the most similar cooking method.
For example, if you search for carrots, it gives you this information. In this case, I would choose the one that says “carrots, raw” since in most cases carrots are added raw to the soup.
When you click on the ingredient you want to use, it will display all nutritional information. You can choose to modify the portion size.
In most cases, the first option it gives you is for 100 grams, but you can change it to cups, teaspoons, or any other measurement according to the food.
Add the information for each ingredient on your spreadsheet or wherever you keep track of your food.
Step Four: Add Everything
Now that we have the information about each ingredient, we need to add everything. Add the total calories, carbs, proteins, and fats to get the total calorie content of the dish you are creating.
If you want to create individual portions, make sure to decide the total by the number of servings. For example, if you are going to divide it into 8 servings, divide the total nutritional information by 8. This will give you the nutritional content of each bowl of soup.
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Tracking Calories In Homemade Soup: The Automated Method
The manual method might be overwhelming for some people. If this is the case, you can always use a tracking app like MacroFactor to calculate the ingredients for you.
While there are other calorie counter apps, I choose MacroFactor because it is very user-friendly, it has an extensive database of foods, and you can get two weeks free if you use the code FEASTGOOD.
Here are the steps to calculate your soup using a calorie tracking app like MacroFactor.
Step One: Go To Recipes
First, you need to click on the “+” sign at the bottom of the screen. You will then select “Your Recipes” to go where you have created all your previous recipes. In this case, it is where you can create a new one (like we are going to do now).
Step Two: Create New Recipe
To create a new recipe, click on the “+” sign at the top right corner of the screen.
Step Three: Add Ingredients
Now, it’s time to add all the ingredients. You can do it manually by searching for them in the database, or if they have a barcode, you can scan it using your phone. In this case, we search for carrots.
(place an arrow on the scanner and another one in the search area)
Step Four: Select the Ingredient
Once you find the ingredient that fits the one you are adding, select it. It will display the nutritional value of that ingredient.
Step Five: Modify the Content
Once you are at the nutritional content of the ingredient, you can modify the serving size to give more specific information based on how much you are adding. You can use cups, teaspoons, pounds, ounces, or units of food.
In this case, the recipe asks for 4 carrots, so we will select the large carrot setting. We then place a number 4 since the recipe asks for 4 carrots.
Step Six: Add All Ingredients
Repeat the same steps with all of the ingredients in your soup recipe. When you have searched for all of them, click the checkmark at the top right corner of the screen to save them and add them all up.
At the bottom of the screen, you can change the recipe’s name. In this case, we put “chicken soup.”
When you want to log in, swipe on the recipe and click on the “+” sign when you want to log it. Change the serving size to “grams.” You then write down how much did the bowl of soup weigh. For example, if it was 550 grams of soup, you place that number. Finally, click on “log items.”
Step Seven: Modify The Servings
If you are going to make the soup in bulk, you will have several servings for that recipe. To modify the serving portions, click on the recipe, and you can modify it at the bottom of the screen.
For example, if the soup has 8 servings, place the number “8” where it says “servings.” This will divide the recipe by 8 to give you the information for only one serving.
Other Tips When Tracking Calories In Homemade Soup
Once you have the final recipe, it is easy to determine if it needs to have some modifications. For example, if you are trying to gain weight, you want to add more starchy veggies like potatoes or sweet potatoes. You can also add whole grains like beans or rice.
On the other hand, if you are looking to reduce the calories of your soup because you have weight loss goals, you want to decrease the carb content, increase the protein (adding more chicken), and increase the non-starchy veggies to increase the fiber. Fiber helps increase your fullness levels which helps you whenever you are cutting down your calories.
How To Store It?
If you are making soup in bulk for you to have later throughout the week, I recommend portioning it out. Serve the different portions in individual containers. That way, you don’t have to worry about how many calories it has when you reheat all of the soup.
If you have airtight containers, it can help you extend the shelf life of your food. While they are somewhat expensive, they are a good investment.
Measure By Grams
If you don’t want to store it in individual containers and want to grab a couple of cups of soup each time, I recommend weighing it.
At the same place where you can modify the serving, you can input the grams you will eat.
First, you need to determine how many grams the final recipe contains. In some cases, MacroFactor gives you a sum based on your added ingredients.
Track Every Additional Ingredient
Remember that if you are making modifications to the soup, you need to include them in the recipe. If you decide to add potatoes or mushrooms, you need to modify the recipe with the ingredients you have added.
How To Track Other Homemade Foods
- How To Determine Calories In Homemade Chili
- How To Count Calories In Homemade Juice
- How To Count Calories In Homemade Bread
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About The Author
Brenda Peralta is a Registered Dietitian and certified sports nutritionist. In addition to being an author for FeastGood.com, she fact checks the hundreds of articles published across the website to ensure accuracy and consistency of information.