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How to Use a Scale to Track Your Diet

Image for article titled The Right Way to Use a Scale to Track What You Eat

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Monitoring the energy and macronutrients within the meals you eat can assist you attain your nutrition-related objectives, from weight reduction, to weight achieve, to making an attempt to get a greater deal with in your consumption of protein and nutritional vitamins. To gauge this info precisely, you’ll wish to get a meals scale. However then what?

Learn how to use a scale to trace meals

Once you’re logging a serving of meals in your app, it’s laborious to know by eyeballing it precisely how a lot you’re really consuming. For instance, if a two-tablespoon serving of peanut butter is 190 energy, is that how a lot you’re placing in your toast? When you unfold it thinly on one slice, you could be getting half that a lot. When you unfold it thickly on two, you could be consuming double what you suppose.

So you may set your toast on a plate on the dimensions, tare it (which units the display to zero), then unfold your peanut butter on the toast and set it again down to seek out out the burden. As an alternative of logging a two-tablespoon serving, you may inform your meals app that you just’re measuring in grams, and that you just’re consuming 20 grams of peanut butter. (That’s slightly bit lower than the usual serving, which is 32 grams, and so that you’re really consuming 118 energy’ price.) Get the concept?

You don’t must weigh each morsel of meals to the gram, in fact. When you weigh your toast three mornings in a row and also you get 18 grams, 21 grams, and 20 grams, you may simply log it as 20 grams each morning and also you’ll be principally on monitor. A kitchen scale can assist you be taught to estimate parts, and can be useful for dividing up recipes. For instance, I like to purchase frozen rooster strips that are available an enormous bag, so if I would like 4 ounces of rooster in a dish, I’ll use the dimensions to weigh out 4 ounces. A kitchen scale is additionally useful for cooking, so it’s a superb funding even for those who don’t plan to trace your macros long-term.

What to do with foods that change weight when you cook them

Some foods change weight when you cook them, including meats and grains, so should you weigh them raw or cooked? There’s a short and a long answer here.

The short answer is that your food app should have separate entries for raw and cooked. Use whichever is most convenient.

The longer answer is that weighing the food raw, and using the entry for raw weight, is usually more accurate. If you’re roasting a chicken thigh, for example, some of the moisture in the meat will evaporate when you cook it, and some will drain out. That’s why overdone meat can be dry, and why there’s often a puddle of liquid in the bottom of the pan when you pull your meal out of the oven.

So the exact amount of water loss depends on how you cooked your chicken thigh. If you leave it in the oven too long, it will lose more water. If you cook it in a sauce or soup, it will weigh more than a roasted thigh after cooking, not least because it’s probably still dripping with sauce when you set it down on the scale.

The opposite happens with something that starts out dry, like rice, and absorbs water during cooking. Differences in preparation can influence how much a serving of rice weighs by the time you’re done cooking it.

To be clear, the nutritional value of the meat or the rice does not change during cooking (or at least, not enough to bother worrying about it). Only the amount of water in it is changing. So I weigh my food before cooking, and I know that by the time I eat it, it’s still got the same amount of calories, protein, and so on.

To be honest, I don’t even weigh food all the time. If I buy a pound of ground beef, and I want to make four servings of chili, I’ll log each serving as containing four ounces (a quarter-pound) of raw ground beef.


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