Folks, I hear you. Each week, I get a few comments asking about nutritional info for a specific recipe. And I get it. We’re in a time where we’re all growing ever cognizant of the things we nourish our bodies with – as we should be. Chances are you’re seeing food bloggers and recipe developers like me include that nutritional information with their recipes. But here’s the thing… they’re not correct.
Ok, ok… They’re close. But not exact. Actually, sometimes they’re way off. Let me explain.
As a blogger, we all use software that allows us to present recipes in pretty little formats that also allows you to print them easily. There are only a few of these pieces of software out there, so we’re all using one of about three different options. And some of those pieces of software will include nutritional information with a few simple clicks.
But they’re just guesses.
And in the case of recipes like many of mine, the nutritional content will vary based on the brands you choose. That nifty little software doesn’t take that into account.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I AM NOT, in any way, throwing shade at anyone who uses these calculators. It’s just not how I choose to run Southern Bite.
Let me show you what I mean…
Here are two mainstream brands of chicken broth. These were the two that took up the most shelf space in my local Publix – which probably means they’re the best sellers. Let’s look at the back of the cartons…
So, for each cup of broth, one has 5 calories and the other has 10. Sure, you’re only talking about 5 calories, but one has double the caloric count of the other.
And when we’re talking about sodium, one clocks in at 760mg while the other contains 860mg. If you’re on a strict sodium restrictive diet, that’s a considerable difference.
Let’s look at another pantry staple – cream of chicken soup. These were the only two brands offered at my store.
In each half-cup serving, there’s 80 calories in the soup on the left and 120 in the one on the right.
When it comes to fat, the Pacific Foods has 2.5g, while the Campbell’s has 8g. That’s a pretty considerable difference.
And then we’re looking at 650mg of sodium compared to 870mg.
Another example is this Italian salad dressing. Again, two popular brands…
We have 60 calories in the dressing on the left compared to 80 calories in the dressing on the right.
The Kraft dressing has 4.5g of fat per 2 tablespoons serving, while the Wish Bone has 7g in the same serving size.
Do you see where I’m going here?
Jarred tomato basil sauce is next up.
The Rao’s sauce on the left clocks in at 80 calories and 5g of fat per 1/2 cup serving while the Barilla sauce has only 50 calories and 1 g of fat.
Last on our list is salsa.
While both jars have only 10 calories per 2 tablespoon serving, the sodium content is where these two differ. The Pace has 130mg per serving while the Herdez has 270mg.
In most cases, these aren’t huge differences, but that’s not always the case. And for folks who are on restrictive diets, even these small variations can make big differences.
While many folks argue that including it is just a general guideline, for me, including nutritional content that is incorrect – no matter how small the difference – is just not how I want to do things.
And since many of my recipes use convenience products like these examples here, the nutritional info can vary based on the specific brands you choose.
So, I ALWAYS recommend choosing your favorite brands and using their nutritional labels to figure the exact content of my recipes.
If you want a general guideline, you can use the handy calculator from Whisk that allows you to drop the link to any recipe right in the calculator and it will give you an estimate. Just keep in mind that it’s just that – an estimate.
If you want something more exact, I love the recipe builder from MyFitnessPal that allows you to build a recipe with specific brands to ensure a more precise calculation.
Y’all, this isn’t me being evasive or inconsiderate. It’s just me trying to be realistic and provide you with the most accurate information.
So, now you know. 😊