Biggest Loser Nutritionist Tip – How Big is a Serving Size?

measuring cupsHow big is a serving size?

Weighing and measuring food is really important when you’re trying to divide your daily calories between three meals and two snacks.



For this, you will need:
• A liquid measuring cup (2 cup capacity)
• A set of dry measuring cups (includes 1 cup, ½ cup, 1/3 cup and ¼ cup sizes)
• Measuring spoons (1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon, ½ teaspoon, and ¼ teaspoon)
• Food scale
• Calculator


Be sure that the food scale measures grams. (A gram is very small, about 1/28th of an ounce.) Most of your weight measurements will be in ounces, but certain foods, such as nuts, are very concentrated in calories, so a portion size will be much smaller.  Food scales range in price from a few dollars to $30 dollars or more.  Some of them are digital and a little more expensive.  Fancy versions may even have an internal database of foods to calculate the number of calories in the food you’re weighing.  In the long run, you’ll be much better off to rely on this book to calculate the calories for you as any scale isn’t nearly as portable and you probably won’t have an extra scale at work or in your car.

Getting Started
If you like having your cereal in your favorite bowl each morning, measure ½ cup (or your designated serving size) into the bowl tomorrow morning.  Then measure the milk in the liquid measuring cup and pour it on your cereal.  Take a mental note of how this looks and you won’t have to measure each time.  No more quart-size bowls of cereal or panfuls of buttered popcorn.  Your food portions are now smaller, and soon, your clothes will be too.

For consistency, your food should be weighed and/or measured after cooking.  Four ounces of boneless skinless chicken breast has around 140 calories when raw. When it’s cooked, it’ll weigh closer to 3 ounces.  That is because it loses water during the cooking process and the calories are now more concentrated. The same holds true for vegetables and other cooked foods. Dry cereals or grains on the other hand may start off with a couple tablespoons per serving.  Add water and cook and the volume or measured amount may double or triple.

After measuring all of your foods for a week or so, you’ll be able to make fairly accurate estimates by eye without having to measure everything, each time you eat. Of course you’ll always need to weigh and measure when trying a new food for the first time, so keep you measuring tools in a handy location. Over time, you’ll know what’s just right for you, whether you’re plating a meal in your own kitchen, or deciding how much of your entrée to eat in a restaurant (and how much of it to wrap up and take home!) But in the beginning, you’ll need a few tools til you get it just right.

© Cheryl Forberg 2016