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Calorie Counting Be Darned!

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Counting doesn’t always give an accurate picture of what a person is truly taking in. Did you know that companies are allowed to be up to 20% off when they list the calories in their products?

What is a calorie anyway?

It’s simply a unit of energy. To get all scientific: it is the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1 °C. Calories don’t take into account vitamins, minerals, or other such nutrients; therefore they do not give the whole story of a particular food. If you decide to eat the low-cal (low-taste!) rice cracker in lieu of the higher-cal banana, you’re missing out on quite a few nutrients.  Not to mention your quality of life will suffer. Think of all the highly-nutritious foods that are also high in calories: flax seeds, walnuts, peanut butter, dark chocolate… I had to mention chocolate!

I know many of you find nutritional information helpful, and therefore I will include the info from time to time in my recipes, as a compromise. But please try to remember that, just like a person, a food is so much more than a number! Now, everyone:

Go make Banana Butter.

I can guarantee that it’s high in both nutrition and taste. And when you only live once, isn’t that what’s most important?


Above, fresh-from-the-blender Banana Butter.

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. brandi says:

    love ya katie! great response. and quit posting this picture while I’m at work and can’t make it! :)

  2. Lainie says:

    Oh Katie, I can’t believe you think you ever hurt anyone’s feelings! You seem like you are just the sweetest girl…and you write with such a sweetness, I don’t think you could ever offend anyone! I’m glad you decided the way you did about calories; as I said yesterday, it’s your blog! Therefore, you get to do things that make the most sense to you…and certainly, it appears, calorie counting does not!

    I’m making the banana nut butter today!!!

  3. mihl says:

    I am sorry I missed your last post as that spread sounds absolutely delicious. You mean I can still go back and make it? You are right!
    As for those calories…I really think that you can do whatever you want on your blog and I will still read it without those numbers. I try not too care too much about them.

  4. Run Sarah says:

    Katie, you are too sweet! It doesn’t matter to me about posting cal counts or not…I have been posting nutritional stats on my recipes as I am trying to be more conscious of getting protein, iron, calcium and B-vitamins and when I find a vegan recipe that incorporates those, I like to post it for others info!

  5. Huzzah for staying true to yourself! I worry about hurting people’s feelings way too much myself, and will often water down my own opinion on my blog in favor of offending the least amount of people, so I know how you feel, and therefore I know how much strength it must have taken to stand up for yourself! Major props. Enjoy not driving yourself crazy over calorie counts that don’t even matter to you! Besides I (we) heart you so much it doesn’t matter if a couple randos don’t agree with you. It’s a fact of life!

  6. great choice girl! we all love your blog so youre obviously doing things right by listening to your instincts! :)

  7. ~Jessica~ says:

    Congratulations for taking a stand and realising that you don’t have to be all things to all people: as has already been mentioned, you’re so incredibly lovely and thoughtful that I doubt it would be possible for you to offend anyone even if you tried. Being considerate is one thing (and you are!) but I know that when I try to be a people-pleaser I get taken advantage of and walked all over. None of us deserve to be doormats, least of all unbelievably sweet individuals such as yourself.


  8. balancejoyanddelicias says:

    glad you made the right decision of not pleasing to the anonymous commenter! :)

  9. I too worry about hurting others, coming off too harsh, too preachy, just too whatever. And so sometimes I tend to water down my real feelings/thoughts and yes, it’s so hard to stay true to your core beliefs sometimes, isn’t it? I hate offending people or fearing alienating them b/c my choices are not their choices and probably never will be. But I am glad you took the little reality check to heart and you’re moving strongly forward trying to remind yourself that gee, this is MY blog after all, and I will do as I want :) I mean, if you can’t let it all hang out in cyberspace, where can you? Rock on Katie much love to ya xoxo

    1. trajayjay says:

      hey, I’ve tried your raw vegan cookies they’re delish, I think you and katie are quite similar in terms of diet

  10. Jen says:

    ya you are so right AND the calorie count of a given food does not reflect how our bodies use it. So a big huge waste of time to count them! Just eat healthy and love what you eat..your body knows what to do with it

  11. Yea! I didn’t want you to have to worry about tabulating all that mess to please a few picky people!

    One thing that I’ve found interesting since I’ve started using my calorie counting app on the iPhone is that most days, I’m several hundred calories under my allotted 1,691. But I’m eating a lot of food and staying full…weird. Part of it also happens I think because I burn so many calories working out every day. But I’ll bet (like you mentioned) that my counts aren’t all that accurate since products don’t always list the accurate amount.

  12. Just this week I did a teleseminar about weight loss and stressed that we are much, much more than math equations of calories in and calories out. Counting calories to lose weight is like looking down so you don’t step on a crack – eventually you are going to have to look up! And then what? I promote a healthy lifestyle and attitude towards food and nourishment. Congratulations on your decision to leave calories off your site!

  13. Meg says:

    Kudos, Katie :) I couldn’t agree more.

  14. Schmee says:

    As someone who has had a lot of difficulty in the past with eating and having a positive body image, I think it is a VERY good idea to not include calorie counts for your recipes. Especially for girls, it is so hard not to be constantly thinking about weight and food, or maybe that’s just me, but I don’t believe that this destructive way of thinking about food and diet should be furthered, especially on such a wonderful blog. Thanks for being strong for all us girls out there Katie!

  15. Tyler says:

    i’ve missed a few posts, and i just want to say that i LOVE your banana butter idea! i am actually eating a banana with almond butter right now thinking “man, i should have blended this up and had banana butter toast!” it’s too late now, because i’m almost finished with my snack, but next time 😉

    also, i agree with everyone on the calorie counting thing. if you don’t do it in real life, then their is no reason to on your blog. and you offer many variations on most of your recipes and often don’t give exact measurement, so calorie counting isn’t really relevant for your recipes. I love how your recipes are based on ideas that are so simple yet so creative at the same time and lend themselves easily to be customized however your readers like it. Your mad tofu scramble is now a staple of my diet :). Keep up the good work!

  16. Shelby says:

    Pssh, calories shmalories. I’m eating what I want!

  17. Julie says:

    You took the right decision. I don’t know what you think about it, but I believe calories don’t mean anything. What means is healthy habits. Too much people use food as a way of expression : frustration, anger, depression, sadness, happyness, lonelyness … However, this is not right ! Eating is part of life, I don’t only mean enjoying family’s meal, but our body needs energy to work properly everyday. And it is lying to say low-carb or any other diets help people losing weight. Of course, it will help them, but for a very short time. I think the best way to keep a healthy weight is practicing a sport we enjoy, eating whenever we are hungry, stopping to feel guilty towards others or ourselves and eating a well-balanced diet with pleasure ! Have a good week-end ! 😉

  18. Jules says:

    Great response! It’s good that you’re so thoughtful of others, but it’s also good to do what you want to do :)

  19. Kristie says:

    Just read the last post but totally would have voted NO on calorie counts. Although I am curious about calorie counts for certain meals (I’ll look em up if going to a restaurant or something but that’s just to help make a SEMI healthy choice), I would NEVER expect you to try to figure that out of all of the meals you make. That would be insane. And really, who cares? Everything you come up with is healthy to the MAX and clearly delicious. Calories schmalories. As you said, if people want to know them THAT badly then they can figure it out. It would be much quicker for someone to figure out calorie counts for the one recipe they decide to make than for you to calculate for EVERYTHING that you make. Geeeez.

    PS – Banana Butter? OMG I love you.

  20. Vegetation says:

    I calorie counted once about 4 years ago. It was the most miserable time of my life and I actually put on weight. I threw out my calorie counter book, ate what I wanted (within reason of course, but as you can tell from my blog, what I consume is far from diet food) and I lost the weight I’d gained again plus a little bit.

    I think maybe calorie counting has it’s place for some people, but for most of us it’s just not neccessary and like you said, if you want to know the calorie content of something, figure it out yourself. I don’t have time to bother (there’s way too many more fun things to do in life!!)

  21. randomlymikey says:

    amen! PB & avocados, my top 2 high cal loves :)

  22. emielli says:

    I can’t wait to try the Banana Butter. My roommate just bought a bunch of bananas today, knowing that she couldn’t finish them all, she offered me half. I know they`ll get eaten this time around, unlike the last two bananas that were starting to turn. I just stuck them in the freezer for some quick smoothies, or even banana bread.

    I agree on the Calorie Counting. I tried CC for a while, but it was just aggravating. Now I`m keeping track of what I eat so I can see if I`m getting enough vitamins in my meals. Works SO much better.

  23. broccolihut says:

    Banana Butter is SO on my weekend to do list…and I don’t care how many Calories it has:)

  24. Liz says:

    Katie you’re so sweet. I’m really happy you’re being assertive about this since I know all too well how it is to want to please everyone.
    Anyway – I’m absolutely PINING for Banana Butter but none of the bananas we just got are ripe yet :( I’m getting seriously impatient!
    Hope everything’s fantastic – love you!

  25. psychoj1 says:

    Banana butter sounds great! Mmmm peanut butter and banana=an amazing combo!!!

    I agree with you on Calorie Counting! No more!
    <3 jess

  26. Chelsea says:

    Screw calorie counting – we’re vegans for crying out loud! And that spread looks so good, but I wonder if my blender could handle it? It has a hard time with hummus… time for a Magic Bullet!

  27. Kate G. says:


    Your blog is by far one of the best for those of us that have struggled with food issues in the past.

    In other blogs where some bloggers claim to not “care” about calories or “don’t count” yet they include how many calories they burned during a workout or how many are in a recipe are VERY triggering and freakin’ CONFUSING! It sends such a mixed message to the readers.

    Thank you for keeping your blog true to yourself and keep doing what you do girl!

    Kate G.

  28. CaSaundra says:

    Who came up with a calorie anyway? They are a waste of time–as long as your eating big portions of healthy food and smaller portions of occasional foods, who wants to deal with more math (cal counting) then you already have to in a day?! I hate math!

  29. That banana butter looks so good! Why have I never thought of that?:)

    I don’t count calories either. I used to count everything that went near my mouth and then I realized what bondage that is! Glad you aren’t doing it on your blog:)

  30. Deb says:

    WoW! Cool. I take this as another sign- I was thinking of giving up calorie counting for a month (IF I CAN STAND IT!!) and you have this title: CALORIE COUNTING BE DARNED! Also, my food diary runs out of paper tomorrow, plus it’s the beginning of a new month as well!

    Thanks for the refreshing look at calories. I’ve wanted to part ways with the incessant calculator in my head for a long time.

    Do you really consume 2500-3500 cals a day? I thought I was the only human who did that!? (Not daily, but sometimes!)

    And your PB/nanner concoction looks crack-ilicious. I must say that I love the fact that it’s only 25 cals- DOH!! ;-D

  31. chocolate pickle says:

    Where did you find out that companies can be off by 20% on the calories listed on their nutritional label? Just curious since I’d never heard that before! I know that they can round calories, but didn’t know that they could be inaccurate by 20%…..20% can end up being a LOT, especially considering I eat large quantities of many things! Just curious when you get a chance:)

  32. PhareCamp says:

    Katie: counting calories mean life or death when you’re diabetic…

    1. Hi PhareCamp,

      I wrote this post a while back, and since then, a lot of people have told me that they need to count calories, so I am often including calorie counts for my recipes now :). They–and you–made me realize that just because I don’t count doesn’t mean everyone shares my views. Sorry to have been close-minded!

  33. von Hufflepuff says:

    I work with obese patients at a clinic where self-monitering of food intake is a huge component to weight loss success. I don’t believe in calorie counting either (I prefer to count food groups and make sure I get adequate nutrition) however I find it useful for people who are beginning on a weight loss journey. Counting calories helps people realize just how much they are over consuming and learn to know the difference between hunger and boredom and how much food their body actually needs. I am glad you posted the nutritional information so that people can make wise choses and also understand proper portion sizes!

  34. Emily says:

    I wish I didn’t have the compulsive behavior of what now has been diagnosed as a E.D to calorie count.
    But I no longer feel hungry except for the morning (never through out the day.) So I can’t even follow my body;s natural signs anymore.

    You know how torturous it is to eat when you aren’t hungry… or even worse when you’re full?
    It feels like pure greed and all I get is anxiety, and even though all of you’re recipe’s are healthy treats I can’t eat them (although I love to read it) because It feels like it’s too good for me to eat and its something others should enjoy. So I make them for others. They love it :)

  35. trajayjay says:

    yeah sometimes the nutrition label doesn’t give the whole story of the healthfulness of the food. coco oil for ex. is very high in sat fat but those fats don’t cause as much heart damage as those found in two bigmacs

    1. trajayjay says:

      oh yeah, whilst scanning thru one of my mom’s health magazines I found a dietician claim that the most important data on a nutrition label was the calories and frowned upon dark chocolates because of its 70 calories per tablespoon. I’m like what the f@$& it’s totally worth the calories for all those benefits. with advice like that she’ll have women everywhere spreading sugary jelly (40 cal per T) instead of peanut butter(,95 cal per tbsp but w/ more vitamins protein, and healthy fat. ppl look at calories and think lower is better

      1. trajayjay says:

        this website caused my brother to make a brownie using grapes.
        and he made chocolate with cinnamon and no chocolate powder…

  36. anon says:

    Calorie counting may be a waste of time for you, and I don’t think you should feel like you need to include calorie counts on your recipes…but at least to me this post sounds like you think calorie counting is a waste of time for /anyone/.

    I have a bit of weight to lose and in my case, I’ve noticed that if I eat above a certain number of calories I gain weight and if I consistently eat below another number then my weight loss progress slows considerably. Of course calories doesn’t show the whole picture, but that doesn’t make it worthless. I know that I eat tons of different vegetables so I’m pretty confident that I’m getting the variety of vitamins I need…but calorie count is harder for me to judge. Unlike a lot of the people commenting here, I’ve actually found calorie counting to be liberating.