All About Weights and Measures


What will I learn here?

Why Weigh and Measure

When to Weigh and Measure

To Weigh, Measure or Estimate

How to Weigh Foods


What will I learn here


This page provides information about weighing and measuring your food. You will learn how to choose which method to use in weighing or measuring out the exact amount of food for consumption. You will also learn how to weigh food on a scale.

Why Weigh and Measure?


Georgia's Meal Real Planner is based on measures. It is important that the right amount of food is either weighed or measured for entry from your wish list or during food preparation. Estimating may be necessary at times to determine a portion size when the serving size unit is specified in not given in dimensional units, i.e. "piece", "slice", "unit",  etc. The principle behind this method of eating is based on calculated portions of foods. If foods are not consumed consistently to the proportion factors then results may be less than what might be possible if foods were measured and weighed.


Since this way of eating is new, and more likely than not you have never measured any food quantities in your eating history, then you need to learn how to do it. You will need to know how to convert Serving Size units in the databases to measures that make sense and can be effectively used in your meal preparation.

When to Weigh and Measure?


In the Body Balance system, all foods consumed must be weighed or measured at some time. The question arises at what point does this happen. That is, does it happen before the meal is balanced or after, before cooking or after cooking.


The answer to these questions must first be prefaced by saying that nothing in the world is perfect. We don't claim this method of eating is perfect, but it has been proven that when meals are consumed according to the principles, that health restores. In any dietary system there is always error. Errors cannot be helped. The nutrient tables are close but not necessarily perfect for every food you will eat, and tolerances are inevitable. The cooked weight of ground beef for example will be less than the before cooking weight due to fat and moisture exiting during the cooking process. Another error prone situation arises in knowing in advance the weights of foods that will be entered as serving sizes in the meal planner. If the meal planner has not yet balanced a meal, then how do you know what weight to enter? The balanced weight might be less than the wish list weight. If you decide to eat a 12 ounce T-Bone steak, how do you know what the weight will be after cooking? You had to enter a serving size weight from the label on the steak. Is this the proper weight? What about, for example, if you entered a serving size of 5 ounces for an apple, and the meal planner cuts the apple back to 3.5 ounces. What do you measure?


There will be errors in this system, but the as long as the system is used consistently and faithfully, the errors will balance out over time and the body will get the proper balance of nutrients, even though a single meal may not be exactly the perfectly calculated proportion factor.


So, here are the general guidelines for weighing and measuring:


(1) For all high protein foods, (the foods marked with an asterisk in the database) the serving sizes are entered from your original wish list, and prior to balancing and cooking. Since these are high protein food, they are generally, but not always immune to slicing by the meal planner algorithms, so they usually remain in tact and you can safely use the wish list weights or measures.


(2) All other foods not marked with asterisks have the potential of being sliced by the meal planner balancer algorithms, and therefore, the weighing and measuring is done on the balanced serving size and prior to cooking.


(3) In all cases, the balanced serving size always takes precedence over the wish list serving size.


Weighing and Measuring food, at first, may be difficult. However, as you get use to doing it, it will become a habit and you will just do it and think nothing of it.

To Weigh, Measure or Estimate?


The database Serving Size units will determine which method you will use to portion out your food. When the database Serving Size units are clearly defined, like ounces, it is obvious which measure to use. It's ounces. The USDA database, in some cases, contains two Serving Size units per entry, making the determination somewhat simpler. The following examples point out the flexible methods you can use to measure, weigh or estimate. They are not a complete list, as the USDA database uses many different Serving Units for all the various entries. These examples are meant to help clarify, but not to cover every condition.


Educational Tip: The following examples assume you are making up your wish list and the serving sizes represent what you want to eat. They are not necessarily what the meal planner will let you eat. In reality, you do not have to be exact or even close when entering serving sizes other than when entering serving sizes for protein foods. In the Oat Bran Bagel example below, if you were actually planning a meal, you could enter any reasonable (or even unreasonable) serving size and the meal planner will tell you what you can eat. The following examples are only for the purpose of demonstrating how to determine which serving size units to use and how to get the most use from the database serving size information. Whatever serving units you use in your list to be balanced, are the units you will need to use to measure your foods when the meal is balanced and you plan on consuming it.


General Guidelines


Starting with the following example:: CHICKEN, BROILERS OR FRYERS, BREAST, MEAT ONLY, CKD, RSTD. The Nutrition Facts Serving Size is "Weighs 1.8 ounces for 1 unit." Changing the Measure displays, "Weighs 4.9 ounces for 1 cup chopped or diced." In the USDA database, when the serving size units have two choices, select the unit that makes the most sense under the Serving Size text entry box.


The general rule is choose the measure that has a defined measurement parameter, i.e., cups, ounces,  teaspoons, etc.


The best choice below is "cup, chopped or diced." You would measure this food using a cup measure. There is no manual conversion required when using the cup.


However, you may also choose the "unit" serving size if your portion size was a known weight. You will need to perform a hand calculation to determine how many units equaled your portion size. Example: If your portion weighs 5.7 ounces then you would divide 5.7 by 1.8 and enter 3.17 units into the Serving Size box. The result is shown in the third image.


In this example, the bagel physical size is not specified, however is described by weight. You would weigh the bagel and enter the weight of the bagel in ounces. You would generally not use the second measure which is "bagel" unless you make the calculation between weight and bagel. Example. If your bagel weighed 4.7 ounces, you would divide 4.7 by 2.0 and enter 2.35 into the Serving Size box.  This is shown in the third image.

In this example there is no alternate measurement. The units is "serving." The serving is described  weighing 0.9 ounces for 1.00 serving. If your cookie weighs 0.9 ounces then you would enter 1 into the serving size box. If it did not, or you didn't know how much it weighed, or you were eating multiple servings, you would have to weigh and calculate the serving from the weight. Example: if your Archway cookies weighed 2.3 ounces total, then you would divide 2.3 by 0.9 and enter 2.56 into the Serving Size box as shown in the second image.

This is an estimate example, from the Meal Planner database. The Serving size is given as a 3" diameter orange. If your orange is about 2 inches in diameter, then that is considered an estimate. You may measure your orange with a caliper if you are so equipped, but it's not likely. Therefore, an estimate is adequate. You would divide 2 inches by 3 inches (2 divided by 3) to get 0.66. You would enter that into the Serving Size box as shown in image 2 below. 

This is an example of an extreme estimate from the Meal Planner database. This serving size can only be described at best as a subjective unit, so only good judgment is possible. What is meant by "1.00 small serving?" You have to be the judge. What is a small Mango to one person may not be small to another as Mangos are not judged by smallness. In this case, the suggestion would be to change to the USDA database and get a more defined serving size as shown. Keep in mind, that we have no control over the contents of the databases. They are as is, and therefore must be manipulated to accomplish the required goals. Using the USDA database, if your Mango serving weighed 3.15 ounces when sliced up, then you divide 3.1 by 5.8 to get the number of cups (0.53) and enter that into the Serving Size box as shown in image three. Note that the nutrient value of the 0.53 cups in the USDA database compares reasonably close to a small serving size in the Meal Planner database.


            Meal Planner Database                          USDA Database                                   USDA Database

This is an example of a unit measurement lacking measurable units from the Meal Planner database, but one that does not require estimating. A strip of bacon is a strip of bacon. Changing to the USDA database defines the bacon as shown. You decide which database to use and how to enter the data in the Serving Size box. Note image two is for three strips. Dividing the nutrient content by 3, yields approximately the nutrient content for 1 strip in the Meal Planner database. The third image depicts a "unit, cooked" as a 4.5 ounce  serving. You would generally not choose that serving unit as the unit is not very practical 


           Meal Planner Database                          USDA Database                                   USDA Database


How to Weigh Foods


Food typically is weighed on a scale. The scale should be capable of resolving small weight differences with a minimum of error. We suggest the scale should have a resolution of 1/4 ounce or better. Most food scales have that capability. Two popular kinds of scales are offered in the scale market. They are the spring loaded scale and the electronic scale. Prices vary according to accuracy. The spring loaded scales are inexpensive and cost less than $10.00. Electronic scales have wide price ranges from about $30.00 up depending on features.


Below are examples of an electronic and a spring scale. The electronic scale, in the below example, requires the scale to be connected to a computer with the display on the computer screen The repeatable resolved accuracy of a typical electronic scale is 0.1 ounce or 1 gram. We highly recommend electronic scales for the serious meal planner user.


          Electronic Scale                                             Electronic scale with Apple on platform


                  Electronic Scale Computer Screen Image showing weight of Apple

Spring Kitchen Scales are inexpensive and are acceptable for use. The repeatability of

measurement is fair, meaning that each time you put the same item in the tray a different value

is displayed and may vary as much as +/-1/3 ounce from repeated measurements.


        Kitchen Scale                                                

        showing apple in tray weighing                           

        7.5 ounces.


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