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I'm wondering how people count calories for a salad. There are so many small amounts of different things, do you measure every item or guestimate the whole salad.

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There are no rules for this sort of thing.

You have to do what satisfies your tracking method and accuracy.

My method is: Don't count. Perhaps the easiest of all the tracking plans.

Good Luck,

Tek

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We are talking a salad full of leaves of various kinds, right? Not egg or tuna or potato or taco? The leaves and all the other vegetables that aren't starchy contain negligible calories. It's the dressing, cheese, nuts, bacon, and croutons that add the calories. I bet a big bowl of fresh leafy greens might have 25 calories, max. I never counted the greens calories, only the dressing and add-ons.

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I usually will do the putzy work once on MyFitnessPal, save the meal, and then it's stored. Tweak it here or there, but sort of save a couple for "general" salad templates.

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I weigh and measure most of my food pretty precisely with a food scale, but there are a few exceptions where I don't bother to be that precise, and salads are among them. For greens and veggies with negligible calories, I just guesstimate, but I do measure the toppings like meat, dressing, croutons, etc. I learned that a serving size of croutons is ridiculously small. 7 grams is like 4 croutons. If you were to guesstimate croutons and just throw on a handful, it would be 3 or 4 servings. Dressing is usually the big calorie contributor, especially if you're using regular (not light) dressing, so that's important to measure precisely.

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my tracking software has entries for just a standard vegetable salad (when I eat them, they're small, so I look up "side salad no dressing" and pick that). I don't really worry about the individual vegetables because unless you're talking avocadoes, they're all pretty low-cal. Then I'll add any "add-ons" separately - like 2 T dressing, 1 oz cheddar cheese - or whatever you're adding to do it.

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I just used a repeat meal or recipe on my software and edited as needed for the day. As noted, the basic salad veg are negligible on calories, but I was more interested in micronutrient counts so that I could adjust supplements as things progressed (do I need one dose of Calcium per day or two, or three to meet my targets? How close to RDAs am I getting without supplementing - can I ultimately cut some out?)

It also helped as time progressed, and our meal size naturally increases, to control portion creep and keep on top of what I was actually eating - I continued to base my lunch salads around 2 oz of meat but allowed the veg side of things grow over time. My software also keeps track of standard servings (or diet exchanges, in that system) so while one of my maintenance goals is to get ten fruit and veg servings a day, (I usually settle for 7-8), my lunch salad accounts for about half of that intake.

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