Learning how to count calories is one of the most important steps in an effective, long term weight loss program.
Your first step should be to decide what resource that you will use to count the calories in the food that you consume on a daily basis.
Do not forget to take into account the beverages calories also, since many people do not count these and end up in a calorie surplus at the end of the day.
This calorie counter is a good choice if you want an online resource.
As far as calorie counting books the best that I recommend is The Complete Book of Food Counts, by Corrine T. Netzer.
Buying this book is one of the best long term investments that you can make for yourself.
Whether you are counting your calories, carbohydrates, dietary fat, watching your cholesterol intake or boosting fiber, this is the ultimate one-volume reference, providing the latest, most accurate information on the largest possible variety of foods.
Once you know how many calories are in the food that you eat on a daily basis, then all you have to do is count how many calories are in each meal that you consume during the day.
The best way to make your meals is to choose the food that you like to eat that is as close as possible to its natural state.
Once you have chosen the foods that you will eat on a daily basis then calculate your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) and divide this number by the amount of meals that you will eat during the day.
Once you have the amount of calories that each meal will consist of, you simply make the portion for each meal using the online calorie counter or your calorie counting book.
Of course many of the calories are listed on the packages of the food that you eat, and this makes it easy to count the calories that come from this food.
With time and experience you will learn how to count calories and this will make the biggest difference in the long term weight loss results that you will be able to produce.