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Weighing Food Portions

author image Jessica Bruso
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.
Weighing Food Portions
A slice of banana bread is weighed in portions. Photo Credit Marek Uliasz/iStock/Getty Images

Although weighing out your food portions may seem like a hassle, it can be beneficial, especially if you are trying to lose weight or want to better control your blood sugar levels. Weighing out foods and ingredients is the most accurate way to calculate just how much you are eating. For the best results, you'll want to weigh the ingredients in any recipes you make as well.

Portion Control for Weight Loss

To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn during your daily activities. One way to do this without giving up all your favorite foods is to practice portion control and track what you eat in a food diary. People often underestimate how much they are eating. Weighing food portions helps fix this problem and allows you to get the most accurate calorie and nutrient content for your food so you can determine whether it will fit into your daily calorie budget. Weighing your food also allows you to become familiar with what a serving size of each food looks like, making it easier to estimate your serving size when you are away from home and can't weigh your food.

Benefits for Blood Sugar Control

If you are diabetic, weighing your foods can help you more accurately estimate their carbohydrate content. This is particularly important if you use insulin to control your diabetes. You can multiply the amount of carbohydrates in grams in a given amount of food, such as 1 ounce, by the actual weight of your portion to get the amount of carbohydrates in your portion. Don't confuse the number of grams your food weighs with the number of grams of carbohydrate it contains. This is more accurate, for example, than guessing your piece of fruit is medium rather than small, and using the average carbohydrates for a medium apple.

Better Baking Results

Weighing the ingredients you use in recipes not only gives you a more accurate idea of the calories in the finished recipe, but it also makes it more likely your recipe will turn out properly, especially when baking. This is why many recipes now give amounts of ingredients in ounces or grams as well as, or instead of, in cups and tablespoons.

Other Portion-Control Options

If you are away from home and unable to weigh your food, you can still determine the proper serving size or estimate about how much you are eating using other portion-control methods. You can split your plate into four parts and fill one part each with grains and protein foods and the remaining half with fruits and vegetables for a quick and easy way to determine the right portions. You can also estimate the right serving size using comparisons, such as a tablespoon being about the size of a marshmallow, a cup of cooked vegetables being about the size of a light bulb and 3 ounces of meat being about the same size as a deck of cards.

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