How To Measure Food
Measuring food properly makes difference between success and failure in losing fat or gaining muscle, find how to do it the easy and accurate way! I promise you this subject is a lot more interesting and a lot less funny than you think, just give me 60 seconds. The reason I am doing this is that everyone *thinks* they know how to measure food but few actually do and the reason a lot of people “cant lose weight” is that they are not weighing things correctly. The amount of food you need to eat to lose weight at an optimal weight is actually a very precise amount. Eat too little and you burn off muscle. Eat too much and you never lose any weight. You need to be able to get the precise amount of calories specified in a good fitness meal planner like custommealplanner.com.
Measure before or after cooking?
Steamed rice, grilled chicken, scrambled eggs – how do you weigh them? Before cooking or after? Many people get this wrong and end up either eating WAY too many calories or not nearly enough. All nutritional databases have entries for both the cooked and uncooked foods and the name tells it all “grilled chicken” is cooked whereas “raw chicken” is uncooked. Laugh all you want but this problem has caused many people to get fat when they thought they were on a diet. For example, my ever popular calorie calculator tells you how much steamed brown rice to eat, if you weigh the dry rice before cooking instead of after cooking it as is specified, you will get a very unpleasant caloric surprise. In my new free fitness custom meal planner, I made sure to leave no question in peoples mind and I specify precisely how each food item is to be weighed.
What about measuring cups?
Can I use measuring cups? No! Leave the teaspoons, tablespoons, and cups in your french cooking class – here we are going to weigh everything. Why? Measuring by volume which is what you are doing with these measuring spoons and cups is too error prone. A cup of diced apple can be off 50% in its calories depending on how finely you dice. Weigh everything! With apples the difference may not be that great because they are low calorie but a quarter cup of nuts could be off by 300 calories depending on the size of the nuts and that make the difference between maintaining your weight and losing fat slowly like you desire.
What kind of scale should I buy?
A cheap spring scale is great for measuring postage but its not nearly precise enough for calorie counting. What you need is a digital kitchen scale with tare button.
We have had our kitchen scale for 5 years and its worked flawlessly day after day. Don’t spend more than $15 on these scales, amazon has digital kitchen scales for under $15 with free shipping!
These are one of the best fitness tools you will ever buy. Lets talk about why its gotta be digital, its the TARE button. But before we talk about TARE, lets talk about how you use these digital scales. Again, sounds stupid but its not.
No food directly on the scale
I know that sounds weird, so how do you measure it?? You put a plate or bowl that you are going to use on the scale, then press the TARE button. The TARE zeros out the weight of the bowl so you can weigh .. NOW you put the food in. We will see how important that TARE button is in a second. Putting raw meats on the scale is not sanitary and you dont want to have to wash your scale.
If you are using my custom meal planner, set the units to grams even if you dont know what one is. Because the gram is a smaller unit, its much easier to measure small quantities. The servings of oils and nuts are often less than an ounce and its much easier to measure 25g than .5987 ounces.
What about ounces?
Several people have used the feedback function in my custom meal planner and said they want the quantities to be in ounces. No, ounces are not accurate enough. If you are serious about your fitness then you have to get comfortable with grams – thats just the way it is. A gram is 1/28th of an ounce. A 100g serving is about 3 ounces. Really though, it doesn’t matter. Its a measurement unit and my custom meal planner tells you how many grams of each food you need.
How to use “tare” button
This is the beauty of the digital scale. Most people making sandwiches mistakenly think the butter an mayo dont count toward calories because they use “just a little”. Well that “just a little” is very easy to measure so if it goes in your mouth, weigh it. To easily measure the butter without dirtying any additional dishes
- put your sandwich plate on the scale
- put your bread on the plate
- turn the scale on, it will read “0 grams”
- now butter your bread and set it back on the plate, it will tell you precisely how many grams of butter you applied so you can calculate the calories!
Many people erroneously think that “bread is fattening”. No, bread is bread. What is fattening is the butter and mayo you slather on that can easily triple the calories in the slice of bread!
If you are making a sandwich, continue to use the tare button repeatedly to weigh the different layers. For example, we are going to have a good ‘ol American PB&J. So the buttered bread is sitting on a plate on the scale, hit the tare button again so the scale reads “0 grams”. Now spread on your peanut butter and set the bread back down on the plate on the scale and read the weight of the peanut butter. Press the “tare” button again, apply your jelly, and weigh the weight of the jelly. There, precisely measured with every calorie counted and you didnt dirty any additional dishes!