Quick calorie estimates when on vacation and eating out?

Does anyone have a strategy for making just quick estimates of calories in meals when on vacation?

I've been using Chronometer for weight management for a year now and it's working great. But it's a fair amount of work to log everything and often I find myself making the same thing at home rather than going out for lunch just because it's easier to log. Which is good for a diet! But not so much fun on vacation.

In the past on vacations I've just not logged things at all. That doesn't work great for me. I'd love to be able to log very rough estimates of things. Like "hamburger and fries: 1200 calories" without having to think much about it. It doesn't need to be very accurate.

Honestly what's most useful for me about the careful tracking is it forces me to make decisions. Maybe I get the plain hamburger, not the one with cheese and bacon. Because I know just how many extra calories that's going to log. Is there any rough version of logging that would help retain some of that advantage for short periods of time?

Comments

  • Many restaurants in Canada have calories listed next to menu items.

  • @NelsonM I was at a chef school coffee shop and shared a gourmet Italian style panini sandwich, no clue about calories but because I wanted to log something went with a Starbucks panini.

  • A handy trick that I always use in this situation is to take advantage of the Recipe Importer! It's a Gold feature, but I will search Google for a recipe that's similar to what I've eaten in the restaurant (say, lasagna), copy the URL, paste it into Cronometer's Recipe Importer and it will pretty easily pull all of the ingredients and make a recipe for you.

    The one thing to pay attention to here, would be serving sizes. It's hard to gauge from restaurants without pulling out your own kitchen scale :D .

    More info on the Recipe Importer: https://cronometer.com/blog/cronometer-adds-recipe-importer/

  • On vacation I wouldn't bother with tracking, just eat sensible.

  • Thanks for the suggestions, particularly emilwri's idea of importing recipes. I've been muddling through my trip with various rough estimates. Honestly just the discipline of recording what I eat is a big help, particularly when it comes to vacation cocktails. The final result doesn't need to be too accurate to still be helpful to me.

    One thing I've been doing is matching an item I ordered to a chain restaurant's listing. The local Italian restaurant's lasagne is probably more or less like the Olive Garden's published nutrition information. I only just realized that picking an item off the "Restaurant" tab works best for this; that tends to give results from Trustwell. The default "All" view gives you a lot of CRDB listings with highly variable quality.

  • I also get by with just taking photos in the moment and logging later during downtime. The Measure app on iOS makes it easy to estimate dimensions. Not the same as weight, but can be helpful when inches are a part of the portion sizes 🤷‍♂️

  • Oh that's a good idea with the photos. And very clever with the Measure app although that does just give you ruler measurements. I think it'd be doable to write software to estimate the volume of a bowl or cup, particularly if you have 3d image data as input, but I don't think anyone makes such a product now.

    What I really want is a portable scale. Digital jewelers scales are quite small, you could imagine something pocket-sized, or even integrated in a cell phone case. More pie in the sky ideas :-)

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