I’m a health coach, and I don’t own a food scale. Here’s why you don’t need to own one either!
Yes, you read that correctly… As a personal trainer and weight loss coach, I do NOT own a food scale.
Let me get something straight though — if you do own and use a food scale, that’s great! I’m not here to convince you that they don’t work.
I’m just here to remind you that you CAN maintain a lean, healthy weight and even lose weight without owning a food scale. Don’t believe me?
Check out the reasons you don’t need to own a food scale to lose weight:
1. It’s not convenient to bring your food scale on-the-go with you.
Have you ever seen someone at a restaurant bring their food scale to the table and ask the waitress to please weigh the chicken breast and veggies before they are plated? Yeah, me neither.
As great as food scales can be to use at home, they just aren’t practical to use when you go to a restaurant, a dinner party, or on vacation.
2. Recipes aren’t (usually) written for scales.
Let’s say you’re making a recipe, and the recipe calls for one cup of baby carrots. You know that one cup is equal to 8 ounces… But think about it… If you measure out one cup of carrots in a measuring cup, there is definitely space in the cup, meaning carrots don’t fill 100% of the cup. However, 8 ounces of carrots on the food scale would include 8 ounces of carrots — no space. Therefore, if you used a measuring cup, you would have less carrots than if you measured it on the food scale.
I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal for measuring carrots, but imagine a recipe that calls for cumin or chili powder or garlic. That small difference could lead to drastic changes in the taste and quality of your recipes.
3. Food scales can’t measure the nutritious value of food
Current research suggests that the quality of food you consume is much more important than the quantity of food when it comes to losing weight. It’s important to remember that not all calories are created equally. For example, our bodies metabolize calories from carrots very differently than they do calories from cookies. Similarly, 10 ounces of asparagus contains many more nutrients than 10 ounces of sugar — even though they both have the exact same weight on the food scale.
You may use your food scale to weigh 8 ounces of white potatoes to cook for dinner, but your food scale doesn’t tell you that 8 ounces of colorful vegetables (such as broccoli) or whole grains (such as sweet potatoes) contain more nutrients and will keep you feeling fuller for a longer period of time — which assists in weight loss. Ultimately, food scales can trick our minds into believing that any type of food we eat is nutritious, as long as it weighs the correct amount.
So — what’s the solution?
While food scales can definitely be useful in certain situations, you DON’T need to own one in order to learn how to properly portion out your meals.
The only tool I use to portion out my meals is my hand! I’ve developed my Portion Control Guide to help you learn how to portion out your meals using your hand, whether you’re trying to lose weight or trying to gain muscle. Your hand is the perfect tool to use to measure portions because it’s proportional to the size of your body, and you have it with you everywhere — at work, at restaurants, and even on vacation.
Here’s a preview of some of the information you can find in my Portion Control Guide. These are the easiest ways to properly portion out food groups based on the size of your hand:
- Protein — When measuring a serving of protein, use the palm of your hand as a guide. If your goal is to lose weight, be sure to include 1–2 palm-sized servings of protein with each meal.
- Vegetables and Fruits — When measuring a serving of vegetables or fruits, use the size of your fist as a guide. Regardless of your health and fitness goals, try to include at least 4–5 fist-sized servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
- Whole Grains — When measuring a serving of whole grains (quinoa, 100% whole wheat, sweet potatoes), use a cupped hand as a serving size. If you’re trying to lose weight, include ½ to 1 cupped hand serving of complex carbohydrates with each meal.
- Healthy Fats — When measuring a serving of healthy (unsaturated) fats, use your thumb to measure the portion size. If you’re trying to lose weight, include ½ to 1 thumb-sized serving of healthy fats at every meal.
No matter whether you count calories, use a food scale, or use your hand size, the most important part of portioning out your meals is being sure you’re eating the correct amount of food AND the right types of food to reach your health and fitness goals. If you’d like to learn more about using your hand to help portion out your meals, so that you can give up using food scales and counting calories, I’m happy to share a free copy of my Portion Control Guide. This is the exact tool I use to help my clients portion out their meals, so they can stop feeling frustrated while meal planning and so they can start seeing real results — like losing 10 pounds or sculpting your abdominal muscles!