How to weigh and measure

A step-by-step guide

How to weigh and measure

We recommend that you weigh and measure your food and drinks for as long as possible, until you get used to correct portion sizes.

This will be key to your weight loss success, because most of us eat and drink supersized portions, both at home and when eating out. This means we consume far too many calories without even realising it!

Weighing and measuring will help you get a grasp of what a normal serving should look like, and after a while you will be such a pro that you should be able to do away with the scales and know roughly how much to dish up just by looking.

If you’re new to weighing and measuring, here are some tips to help you.

Weighing foods

Place a plate, a bowl, or a piece of baking paper on electronic kitchen scales. Press the ‘Reset’ or ‘On’ button to clear the weight of the plate. Add the food you want to weigh – it may take a couple of seconds for the scales to settle and display the final reading.

Measuring with spoons

Use metric spoons for energy-dense foods such as oil, butter, sugar and honey. And keep the measure level by flattening off the top of the spoon with a knife, so that it’s levelled and not heaped.

Measuring with cups

Use metric cups for foods such as breakfast cereal. You can also use them as measuring scoops, especially for cooked rice, pasta and noodles.

Estimating portions

Although weighing and measuring is the most accurate way to work out how much you’re really eating and drinking, it’s not always possible to take scales, metric cups and small plates with you. So when you can’t weigh and measure, use your hand as a guide to portion size.

  • Your palm is about the size of a small 150g serve of meat or a serve of raw nuts. Your palm and fingers are roughly equivalent to a regular 150–200g serve of fish.
  • Your cupped hand is about 1⁄2 cup of vegetables or pasta.
  • Two cupped hands are about 1 cup of breakfast cereal, salad or air-popped popcorn.
  • Your clenched fist is approximately 1 medium piece of fruit or 1 cup of vegetables, berries, cooked rice or pasta.
  • Your thumb is approximately the size of 1 tablespoon of dips or condiments such as cranberry sauce.
  • Your fingertip is about the size of a teaspoon of margarine, butter or peanut butter. 

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Learn to cook

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Become a culinary master chef in the kitchen with these easy-to-follow, step-by-step cooking guides. Master key cooking techniques that can be used for lots of recipes, plus learn the art of weighing, measuring and estimating portions – essential for any weight-loss cordon bleu.


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