Food Q&A: Meat Shrinkage

How do I account for cooking shrinkage when I'm determining portion sizes?

Need ideas for coping with restaurant buffets? Want some good snack ideas? In our Q&A series, nutritionist and food editor Leslie Fink, MS, RD, answers questions about food, nutrition and weight loss.

Q: Is there a standard way to account for shrinkage when determining portion sizes of beef, fish and poultry?

A: In general, beef, poultry and fish shrink about 25 percent when cooked. Therefore, a 4-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast will yield approximately 3 ounces of cooked meat. You should account for this shrinkage when purchasing meat. For example, if you want to end up with four, 4-ounce cooked burgers (16 ounces total), you'll need to begin with about 20 ounces, or 1 1/4 pounds, of uncooked meat.