Whether you’re on a mission to lose fat, gain muscle, or maintain your current look, macro nutrition can be the solution you need. One staple of living a successful macro nutrition lifestyle is knowing how to properly weigh and track your foods. Weighing and measuring food for beginners is so important to progress and achieving results.
I get so many questions about how I weigh my foods, that I wanted to take some time to break down: why you should weigh your food, how to weigh your food, and provide you with some quick tips to help make your macro nutrition lifestyle easier to maintain in the long run. Basically, it’s weighing and measuring your food for beginners!
Why You Should Weigh Your Food
Weighing your food is so important when you’re following a macro nutrition lifestyle. Oftentimes servings on the side of a package are labeled something like one cup, half cup, etc. Especially when we’re talking about dry foods like rice, pancake mix, or quinoa. If you look closely, however, you’ll likely also see the serving size labeled in grams as well. If you want the best results using macro nutrition, you’re going to want to focus on the grams…not the cups.
Now, I know, measuring in cups is so easy, right? Just grab a measuring cup out of the drawer, stick it in, and bam! One serving. Done and done. But guess what? The problem with measuring with a cup rather than in grams is that depending on how densely packed that measuring cup is, you may have more (or less) than the amount you think you have.
Using a measuring cup causes a ‘caloric swing’ meaning, you may be over or under on calories. Using a more precise measurement tool, like a scale, helps avoid that swing. Avoiding swings will help you hit your goals faster.
How To Weigh Your Food
Getting a good food scale is a must. A good digital scale should, at a minimum, provide measurements in ounces and grams and have the ‘tare’ function.
I recommend weighing almost everything and you can use the same scale for all of it. From potato chips to pancake mix, protein powder, sugar, ketchup and salad dressing, chicken breast, rice, and fruit, all of these items can, and should, be weighed on your scale. Sometimes I even weigh my wine!
To get the most accurate numbers using your food scale here’s some basics on what you should do…
- Place your bowl on the food scale
- Set your scale to grams
- Zero the scale by pushing ‘tare’
- Add your first ingredient to the bowl and record
- ‘Tare’ your scale
- Add your next ingredient. Record. Repeat.
If you’re measuring something that’s in a container like ketchup, peanut butter, or pasta sauce, you can do a ‘reverse weigh’…
- Place the entire bottle on the food scale
- Zero it out using ‘tare’
- Remove the amount of product you wish to use
- Place bottle back on the scale. The negative number is the amount you’ve used. Record that.
Using a food scale even works with multi-ingredient foods like chili. Here’s how…
- Weigh out and record all of your ingredients individually.
- Create a recipe in MyFitnessPal (here’s a beginner’s guide to MyFitnessPal) and add the data for each ingredient.
- Once cooked, weigh the entire meal in a large container
- Edit your recipe to have the same number of servings as the total grams it weighs
- Now you can weigh out the exact amount of food you desire to eat
Quick tips to make it all easier
At first, counting macros and weighing your food might seem like a lot of work. But I promise, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. I’ve actually been tracking macros and weighing my food for so long, I can pretty much eyeball my meals and tell you within pretty close accuracy how much protein, fat, and carb I’m eating. Precision in the beginning means more flexibility in the long run. Weighing and measuring your food for beginners gets easier with time!
To make it easier, here are my top three tips for weighing and tracking…
- Don’t weigh everything. I don’t typically weigh things like individual yogurt servings, protein bars, or snack packs.
- Weigh in the pots, pans or bowls you’re using to cut down on dishes.
- Be flexible. Being ‘off’ here and there is better than losing your mind trying to be perfect.
Counting macros, weighing your food, and tracking your progress are all a part of reaching your goals. It may seem tedious at first, but the more you do it the easier and more natural it will become. Put in the work now and see the benefits tomorrow! I hope you found this post helpful for teaching you more about weighing and measuring your food for beginners!
Start your nutrition journey now with my Getting Started with Macros Guide and 40-30-30 Weight Loss Meal Plan!