I just spent an afternoon analysing some recipes for a client, a home economist developing recipes for her own client.
It is quite soothing work, I have found quite an intuitive analysis package that has smart portion guide and pretty reporting which highlights allergens, that calculates portions and scales recipes up and down, presents information to meet EU labelling. I can immerse myself in the data entry and solve all the little puzzles of choosing the best fitting foods to match the ingredients and the best cooking methods to use that match the recipe.
I can use the clients photos and methods to give them something pretty and personalised. Yeah, it’s a bit geeky and I probably would get bored if it was the only thing I did. But still there is something ordered and calming about it. I think some people feel the same satisfaction when building spreadsheets.
And I get some inspiration, some recipes to try out at home. It does make me hungry though as I sit with lists of foods, pretty food pictures and descriptions of cooking. Recipe analysis has always made me hungry. Not something to do on an empty stomach.
Recipe analysis is not just about getting some figures to go with the recipe or to pop on a label. It can really help to make recipes a bit better.
Knowing how a recipe compares to daily recommendations, the contribution it makes to someone’s daily intakes, gives a developer an opportunity to make the recipe a bit better. If we want to eat better, lots of little improvements can add up to a big effect.
It isn’t about trying to make every food or recipe perfect and healthy, which is impossible. Rather asking can we make this recipe a little better in some way. Add another vegetable, an ingredient with a bit more fibre, considering the size of the portion, flavours and spices to allow less salt etc.
If you are developing meal plans or menus for a work canteen or a school or for a feature for a magazine providing meal ideas for working families etc the recipe analysis can be pulled together to give a sense of balance across the plan. How is this plan helping people eating these meals to meet recommendations?
To make a claim about a meal you must have the nutrition content per portion to know if you are making a true claim.
There are packages that you can put a recipe in and pull out nutrition information but there is far more value in working with a registered nutritionist or dietitian with experience in food analysis. They can really work to help you improve the food you offer.
I look forward to my next little batch of recipes. Get in touch if I can work with you.