Something I use all the time in the kitchen is my digital kitchen scale and I wanted to shed some light on why!
1/ It provides the most accurate means for meal tracking while losing (or maintaining) weight.
Portions listed on labels can be measured by grams and ounces, and if you are seriously trying to lose weight, using cups/TBSPs/etc based on the label is not accurate (I’ll explain more below).
You can also look up the nutrition ingredients for foods without labels (fresh fruit, veggies, etc) and accurately measure them with a kitchen scale. Here is a helpful site for that. Type the food into the search bar toward the top right and select the food category to narrow things down. For most foods, you will measure the item raw, unless it gives you the option for cooked, which the above site does and that is why I find it so helpful.
You may or may not know it, but pre-labeled/packaged items are allowed to vary in nutrition information accuracy by as much as 20%. Meaning if it says 30g is 100 calories, it might actually be 120 calories.
Additionally, I’ve measured the volume for single serving things and seen them vary in volume by as much as 40% MORE than what the label says!! The other day, I had a single serving protein packet labeled as 25g, and it ended up weighing 35g. (That’s actually what gave me the idea to write this post!)
So think about that… if you were to use the whole thing. The actual nutrition value for the produce could potentially be 20% more calories than what is listed, and in this case, you are unknowingly consuming 40% EXTRA of the product than what you expected.
Why this matters… It adds up quickly for those trying to lose (or maintain) weight. For example, say you have an item that is listed as 100 calories and is 50 grams. It can vary by 20% in total calories, making it potentially up to 120 calories. Then, if you don’t know you consumed 40% extra, you could potentially be eating 168 calories instead of 100 when you factor in the actual nutrition value with the weight variance. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot. However, when you take this same thing occurring multiple times a day, it can add up quickly, especially for someone looking to lose weight by a modest approach of only a few hundred calories in deficit a day.
2/ If you want to learn what real portion sizes look like.
When you are not familiar with portions for various things, it can be helpful to use a kitchen scale. Here again, packages label in grams, ounces, cups/TBSP/etc., or sometimes even the quantity of things like chips and crackers, but volume and weight vary significantly. When you are first starting to learn what a serving size of things looks like, it can be helpful to weigh it out. Over time, you’ll be able to eyeball portions more easily, which can be helpful in circumstances when bringing a kitchen scale is not really reasonable (parties, dining out, etc.). Plus, you eventually want to get to a place where you aren’t relying on the scale for weight management reasons.
A chart like this can also be a helpful guide for referencing portion sizes. This is a good one to print and carry in your wallet. Both have a few things I don’t agree with though (a ping pong ball is probably more than 1 serving of peanut butter, and a poker chip is a bad reference for a serving of fat because of the flat dimension).
3/ If you want to be able to make the same recipe turn out just right every time.
I use a kitchen scale any time that I am working on a recipe. It helps to get the same outcome each time I make. It also helps for the recipes that I post (in the event anyone actually makes them, they will have the best outcome by following the weights listed). Even when I am following a recipe form other food bloggers, I use my scale, because most of them provide that information for the same reason—you know it will turn out right each time.
I recommend a digital food scale that measures in grams and ounces. I have one that lets me flip between the two.
This is the one I have. I bought it at Bed Bath and Beyond with a 20% off coupon.
Hopefully these are helpful tips!
1/ Do you use a food scale?
2/ If so, what for?