For this, you will need
- a liquid measuring cup (2-cup capacity)
- a set of dry measuring cups (1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup and 1/4 cup sizes)
- a set of measuring spoons (1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon)
- food scale
- calorie counter
The food scale should measure pounds and ounces as well as grams. Most measurements will be in ounces but some foods are very concentrated sources of calories so the portion sizes will be smaller (nuts are a good example of this).
There will be no more eating cereal out of mixing bowls! I recommend taking a small bowl out of the cupboard the first morning you try this. Measure your serving size of cereal (based on nutrition facts label on cereal package) into the bowl with a measuring cup. Take a good look at the cereal in the bowl. Next, measure the milk and then add to the bowl. Now look at the cereal with the milk added. Now you know what your serving size should look like and you won't have to measure it every day.
Another key point I teach the contestants is the importance of measuring raw vs. cooked foods. When vegetables or proteins (such as chicken) are cooked, they lose water and the calories become more concentrated. This means you need to look up the calories for that food in its raw form if you are measuring it raw (or cooked form if measuring it cooked).
Here is an example:
6 ounces of raw boneless skinless chicken breast - 182 calories
6 ounces of cooked boneless skinless chicken breast - 280 calories
There are 54% more calories in the cooked chicken because 6 ounces cooked started out weighing considerably more than 6 ounces.
Similarly, with vegetables:
1 cup raw broccoli has 44 calories
1 cup cooked broccoli has 52 calories
After measuring all of your foods for a few days, it will become easier to make estimates by eye (such as when dining out) without having to measure everything. You'll always need to weigh and measure new foods the first time you try them though, so keep the measuring tools handy.
Here is a sample 1,500 calorie "Biggest Loser" menu:
1/2 cup fresh diced melon
oatmeal (1/2 cup dry old-fashioned cooked with 1 tablespoon ground flax and 1 cup water) and sprinkled with cinnamon and 1 tablespoon chopped pecans)
1/2 cup fat free vanilla yogurt
1 cup green or mint tea
1 fresh pear sliced and topped with 1/2 cup fat free ricotta and drizzled with 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
Mediterranean turkey pita sandwich:
Sparking water with orange slice
1 non (or low) fat mozzarella string cheese stick
1 medium orange or apple
5 ounces grilled lean flank steak with two Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise and grilled
Large tossed salad (2 cups mixed salad greens, 1/4 cup sliced cucumbers, 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms) plus 2 tablespoons light Caesar dressing
3/4 cup whole wheat couscous
1 cup non fat milk