Kitchen Makeover Week 5: Measure Your Success
by David Grotto, RD, LDN
Servings and portions are not necessarily equal. A serving is the standard unit of measure found on the nutrition label that’s used to calculate the information listed (i.e. calories, fat, sugar, sodium, etc.). A portion, on the other hand, is the actual amount you consume. For most people, portion sizes tend to be larger than serving sizes.
It may seem anal-retentive to measure your food, but in this case, precision is your BFF. And the 25 extra seconds you spend measuring are worth it! Here are some accuracy tools every kitchen should carry.
Get the scoop. Most people don’t pull out measuring cups and spoons unless they’re whipping up a recipe. I suggest you make these trinkets a regular part of your food preparation. By committing serving sizes to memory, you’ll be able to call on that information when you dine out at restaurants, which are notorious portion size offenders.
Don’t have separate dry and liquid measuring cups? No sweat. There technically isn’t much difference between them for measures up to a pint. Of course, using dry measures for liquid can increase the chances of spilling, so if it’s in the budget, get both or pop for a food scale, which is the most accurate way to measure dry ingredients. Be sure to take the back of a knife to scrape off any excess, and level the top for dry ingredients.
Weigh in. Food scales are a helpful, inexpensive tool to have in your kitchen, especially when you need to convert grams to ounces. They’re also great for measuring the proper portions of meat, seafood or poultry. Another cool idea: Buy family-size or bulk items, and use your scale to divide single servings into separate baggies. Measuring food on this scale may help predict what to expect on your scale.
Author David Grotto is a FitStudio advisory board member, registered dietitian and the founder and president of Nutrition Housecall. He is the author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life and 101 Optimal Life Foods. He served as a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association for more than six years.