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Measuring foods: I have no clue



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WORTHIT374
Posts: 54
7/7/13 8:20 P

You can either look at weighing and measuring as a burden or a blessing. If a serving of meat is 3 or 4 ounces, I want to make sure I'm getting every ounce that I'm counting on my tracker. Before I weighed or measured things consistently, I often over- or under-estimated and was sometimes cheating myself. Think of it as, "I want to make sure I'm getting everything I'm allowed to have."



SIMONEKP
Posts: 2,458
7/6/13 12:51 P

scale and measuring cups and spoons will be your best friend



KCLARK89
SparkPoints: (23,673)
Fitness Minutes: (12,169)
Posts: 1,048
7/6/13 10:42 A

Measuring helped me tremendously! But a good starter is to first use a smaller plate instead of a huge dinner plate. yes, I have them, but I rarely use them. If you fill up 1/2 of your plate with veggies first, then you're well on your way to balancing your meal better.



ANARIE
Posts: 12,320
7/6/13 8:58 A

Buy a little digital scale. They're easy to find for $25, and with a little scrounging you can find a perfectly good one for $15. (If money is a big issue, try inexpensive hardware outlets like Harbor Freight; apparently contractors and auto mechanics weigh things all the time.) Make sure it weighs in grams and ounces, and that it has a tare function. Tare is the allowance made for the weight of a container; if your scale has a tare function, you can put an empty container on it, "tare out" that weight (the scale will show a negative number,) put the food into the container and get the weight of just the food. Doing this takes about 1/16 the time it took you to read that convoluted explanation. (You can then tare it out and put the next ingredient into the same bowl if you're making a salad, etc. And if you weigh a slice of bread, tare it, and then spread peanut butter on it, you know the exact amount of pb you're getting, without having to wash out a measuring spoon.)

Once you have the weight, most food items in the database here let you enter an amount in grams or ounces, and that will be very accurate. You look up the name of the food; it appears with a little drop-down menu for the amount, and you fill in how much you ate-- Or better yet, how much you're planning to eat. One of the advantages of the scale is that you can weigh something, enter it in the tracker, and see that it has way too many calories BEFORE you eat it, while you still have a chance to put some back.

As for restaurant food, having a scale helps there, too. A lot of frozen meals and large chain restaurants give nutrition info that includes the weight of the item. Your local restaurants' recipes probably aren't too far off from one of those, except for the serving sizes. An 8-oz serving of your restaurant's spinach lasagna will have roughly the same calories as 8 0z of Stauffer's frozen spinach lasagna-- only the restaurant probably gives you 12-18 ounces. (If you're eating at the restaurant rather than carryout, divide your meal in half as closely as you can, bring home half in a doggy bag, and weigh the leftovers.) It's not as good as knowing the exact recipe and nutrition info, but it's probably the best you can do.

The entries in the database that are often inaccurate are the ones entered by members; the main database is from the USDA, and any other website or computer program you can get for free (and most that you pay for) would use exactly the same one. It's far, far too expensive for any corporation or non-profit group to create their own; USDA has been working on it for decades.



JUSTICE19
SparkPoints: (8,494)
Fitness Minutes: (23,066)
Posts: 328
7/6/13 6:47 A

When it doubt, I always weigh or measure. sometimes it amazes me how much smaller a serving size is. However, when it comes to a vegetable with has low calories as in broccoli, I don't really measure.



NIRERIN
Posts: 11,721
7/6/13 6:43 A

the spark tracker is as accurate as you make it. in other words, if you only search and pick the first thing that comes up, it may not be accurate at all. if you take the time to make sure the info that you are using matches your own [whether from an entry already in the tracker or by entering it yourself], then it can be quite accurate.
a scale and taring is the best way to go as far as actual measuring goes. having a pad of paper in the kitchen by the scale lets you easily note what you add as you add it so that you can transfer the numbers into the computer later.
most foods have serving sizes on the label. that's a good place to start. for nuts and cheese a serving is one ounce [and that's a weight ounce, don't try to use cups and fluid ounces], meats are 3-4 oz, breads and grains are an ounce [though that tends to be dry weight for things like pasta that you cook up], and most fruits and veggies are 3-5 oz. you can check out choosemyplate.gov for more detailed info on serving size. once you know what a serving size is though, you can play around with what works as a meal or snack for you and fills you up. you might have two servings of vegetables or two servings of protein with a meal if that happens to work for you.
but figure you should be getting at least sixteen servings of food a day: 2-3 protein, 2-3 dairy, 3-5 fruits, 3-5 vegetables, and 6-11 grains. if you want to go lighter in the grains, by all means eat fewer servings of grains but make up the number of servings in the other categories [protein, veg, fruit].

Edited by: NIRERIN at: 7/6/2013 (07:02)


SLIMMERKIWI
SparkPoints: (120,823)
Fitness Minutes: (32,354)
Posts: 21,006
7/6/13 3:14 A

I always weigh my food and enter it into the Nutrition Tracker. As far as accuracy is concerned, those foods on the SP Data Base come from USDA which is very accurate. Be very careful if you use a member's entry because they are riddled with errors, or just don't show what a serving size is. Where it comes to packets for separate ingredients for a meal, you can get the nutrition info off their label and manually enter it yourself.

You have a broken foot, but that doesn't mean that you can't cook! How do you get yourself to the toilet, or to bed? You can sit and prepare veges etc. and put them in a pot. Many people do, and with more challenges than a broken foot.

As far as how much to eat is concerned, a lot depends on WHAT you eat and what you do. You are recovering from a fracture - try increasing your protein and dairy products - that will aid bone-healing. Sometimes it takes a while to play around with the various foods to find what fills you most without overloading the calories or fat. Fruit and veges are good for that - generally tons lower in calories and filling. Protein is also filling. Fat is filling but per gram is higher in calories, and make sure that the bulk of the fat is healthy fat.

Kris

Edited by: SLIMMERKIWI at: 7/6/2013 (03:17)


EXOTEC
Posts: 2,904
7/6/13 1:47 A



EMAVERICK
Posts: 7,229
7/5/13 11:35 P

The most accurate way to measure things is by weighing your portions, but getting a couple sets of cup measures, and spoon measures, from the dollar store, or Ikea, will help a lot. You will get the feel for measures after a while.

When eating out, if we aren't eating something labeled with nutritional information and a decent calorie count, then probably it is at least twice as many calories as we should be eating to lose weight. That is just the amount they are serving in this country now. A good trick is to pack half the plate at the beginning of the meal to go, then relax and enjoy the other half. (And avoid eating the filler bread they put on the table as well).

There are plenty of restaurant items that have been added to the nutrition tracker. If you type the item in, you will probably be able to find something close. Also, it's good defense to put your choices into the tracker before ordering or going to the restaurant, and figure out how to make it work, rather than to have a nasty surprise after. You will be surprised at how dense calorie beef and broccoli is. They must pour in the oil.

Try out El Pollo Loco if they are in your area--they have drive through. You can find a link to their calorie count here:
www.elpolloloco.com/our-food/





AILEBBELIA
SparkPoints: (13,410)
Fitness Minutes: (4,362)
Posts: 3,171
7/5/13 11:18 P

You can look at Food Charts like this fruit one:

www.sparkpeople.com/resource/food_lists_fr
uits.asp


It tells you how much is considered in a serving and you can quickly compare foods.

"Numbers reflect one typically recommended serving of fresh fruit (1/2 cup chopped or diced, no syrup)."

The yellow box on the link has food charts for fast food too.

Good Luck!!



HUNGRYJESS
SparkPoints: (285)
Fitness Minutes: (280)
Posts: 33
7/5/13 11:04 P

Hi Everyone,

Does anyone have any tips on how to measure/track food? How reliable is the sparkpeople tracker? (I remember reading on one member's post about how she uses another tracker because it is more accurate.) Anyhow, how do I measure the food? How do I know how much is too much?

I mean, there are certain things that are easy to log. For example, if I want to log Andes mints, I just look up in the tracker how many calories they are and I can log that. But what about other stuff?

Ever since I broke my foot I've been doing a lot less cooking and a lot more ordering, from local restaurants mostly where I don't have easy access to nutritional info.

I see so many posts on here about people measuring food. But how do you do it? How do you know how much to eat?

Thanks,

Jess



 
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