How to Weigh Food Without a Scale

Two important aspects of a healthy diet are quality and quantity. If you are eating all the right foods and still having trouble losing weight, you might be suffering from "portion distortion," a condition in which you have lost the ability to determine the normal portion size you should be consuming. The prevalence of huge serving sizes in America probably contributes to the nation's overwhelming obesity rate. Since it is awkward to carry around a food scale, you can use this alternative technique for measuring your portions.

This filet is about the size of two decks of cards. (Image: Jag_cz/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Learn common serving sizes.The amount of food on your plate at a restaurant is not the serving size you should be eating, nor can you always trust the serving size of packaged food. For example, a typical steakhouse steak can be anywhere from 7 to 20 ounces, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommended serving size for meat is about 3 ounces, with a recommended 5 to 6 ounces for the entire day. Other recommended serving sizes include 1-1/2 ounces of cheese, 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta, and 1/2 cup of fresh fruit.

Step 2

Compare with common objects. Now that you know the serving sizes, you need a way to measure them without a scale. To do this, compare your portions with household objects. For example, a 3-ounce steak is about the size of a deck of cards, 1-1/2 ounces of cheese looks like 3 dice, a slice of bread should be the size of a cassette tape, and 1/2 cup of pasta, rice or fruit should be no bigger than half of a baseball. Use these comparisons to measure your serving sizes.

Step 3

Test yourself. Before ditching the food scale for good, test your new ability for accuracy. Measure out some food by hand and eye, and compare it to the recommended serving size. If you are relatively accurate, you are ready to take your new skill on the road, to your favorite restaurant or right in your own kitchen.

Load Comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.