It has recently occurred to us that many restaurants have either started to or have to consider counting calories.

So what do you need to get started on nutrition analysis? Here are a few things you'll need to gather before you start using any database analysis methods:

*Ingredients

You will need to know or have access to the details of each ingredient, for example:

* Vegetable Oil - what kind? (corn, soybean, safflower, ..)
* Beef - what cut? is the fat trimmed? is it on or off the bone?
* Flour - bleached or unbleached? enriched or unenriched? all purpose, cake, or whole wheat?

*Ingredient Quantities

* How much of each ingredient is being used?
* Weights are always the best measure (i.e. grams, oz, lbs), volumes are okay (i.e. cup, tsp, Tbl).
* Do not use subjective measurements that may vary among cooks (i.e. punch, handful, splash).

*Portion Size

* How much will be served to each guest?
* You will be able to enter in serving size by weight or by number of servings per recipe.

*Fried Items

The amount of oil absorbed during frying. The best way to get this information is to weight the cooking oil before frying and after frying. You can assume the difference to be the amount absorbed by the product.

*All Ingredients

Make sure you go through your recipes and look for hidden ingredients. For example:

* Butter on a bun.
* Baked items rolled in seeds or oats.
* Olive oil drizzled over pizza.
* Sauces

*Specialty Ingredients

Ingredients not found in the MenuCalc® database will need to be added with their nutrition facts. This can be gathered from the nutrition facts panel on the product, or by contacting the ingredient supplier.

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This was all pulled off of MenuCalc's info center to make the nutrition analysis easier for restaurants. For more information concerning the process, take a look at the info center yourself: http://www.menucalc.com/nutritioninfocenter.aspx

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Tags: MenuCalc, analysis, calories, database, ingredients, nutrition, restaurants

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