As usual, the answer to the question “should you weigh and measure your food?” is: depends. There is a time and a place in which measuring is appropriate. However, that level of detail can turn into a detrimental habit for some people.
How to weigh and measure food
Kitchen scales are easy to find in stores that sell homewares and appliances and come at different price levels. As with other appliances, price normally indicates quality but even the most affordable scales are decently accurate. Digital scales seem to be the norm these days and are easier to read. Coffee brewing scales tend to be more accurate, just keep in mind the capacity depends on the brand and model.
There are 2 types of measuring cups: for liquid and dry ingredients. Measuring cups for liquid ingredients usually look like a jug, have a spout and have extra room above the last measuring line.
Measuring cups for dry ingredients often look like a small saucepan and have no room above the last measuring line because you usually level up the ingredient (e.g. flour, sugar) with the edge of the measuring cup. These cups usually come in sets (e.g. ¼ cup, ⅓ cup, ½ cup, ⅔ cup, ¾ cup, 1 cup).
These usually come in sets (¼ teaspoon, ½ teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, ½ tablespoon, 1 tablespoon). It is useful to know that 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons, so if you don’t have a tablespoon measurement or it’s dirty, you can use the teaspoon one.
Should you weigh and measure your food?
As mentioned above, weighing and measuring food is not for everyone and it’s not someone should be doing all the time (unless it’s their job).
Weighing and measuring food may be appropriate in the following situations:
- You don’t know how to eyeball food weight or volume and want to acquire this skill
- You are learning to cook and want to follow recipes accurately
- You want to make sure you are meeting your targets for food groups and/or macronutrients to optimise health, performance and/or recovery *
- You want to make sure you are not overeating in order to manage your body composition *
- You buy some foods in multi-serve containers (e.g. large tub of yoghurt) and want to make sure you are eating however many servings the container has
* In these cases you will also want to know why and how to count macros.
Weighing and measuring food may not be appropriate in the following situations:
- You have disordered eating patterns or an eating disorder
- You don’t have the equipment, time or patience to do it
- It is a source of anxiety for you
- You measure part of your food but end up adding more to your plate and not measuring those extras
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