Increased meal portion sizes have long been linked as a contributing factor to the American obesity problem. Studies have found that addressing meal portion size might be an effective tool for weight management, but most Americans do not understand the difference between portion size and serving size, according to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
One way you can track your portion sizes and help manage your weight is by using a food scale for the ingredients you use in a recipe.
Here are a few tips on how to use a food scale, according to Livestrong.com.
1. Determine the type of food scale you want to use: Determine what type of food scale you want to use. Some people prefer to purchase a digital scale because it offers exact measurements without guesswork; other options include spring and weight scales. When choosing, focus on selecting a scale that has numbers you can easily read, is within your budget, has a bowl or cup for holding food and is easy to maintain.
2. Read the manual: A simple scale might not come with a manual but some digital scales have advanced features like calorie measurements and nutritional values. Reading the instructions will help you understand your scale’s particular features.
3. Zero out your scale: Depending on the type of food scale you’ve purchased, this could be as simple as turning the scale on and waiting until the display registers “0.” For spring and weight scales, you might need to turn a knob on the scale to 0.
4. Weigh the bowl or container you will use to store the food you’re weighing: You need to know the weight of the container in order to subtract it from the number the scale registers when you add food to it. The answer will give you the actual weight of your food.
5. Place your food portion in the container on the scale: If you are using a weight or spring scale, give the scale a few moments to settle before reading the weight. If you are using a digital scale, you will either see the weight displayed automatically, or you may have to enter a special code that indicates the type of food you’re weighing into the scale.
6. Subtract the weight of the container, if necessary, from the reading to calculate your final weight measurement.
7. Rule of thumb: Weight meat after cooking, but grains, fresh fruits, vegetables and other items that expand after cooking should be weighed before cooking.