21 hacks to help you measure and track your food
Weighing and measuring your food doesn't have to be a pain. Say you’re not the kind of person who’d electively carry a jingling set of measuring cups in your handbag. (Who is?!) There are still plenty of ways to make assessing accurate portions easier whether you’re on the go or at home - including shortcuts to bulk up teeny servings without adding Points® values.
To make measuring easier:
1. Use your phone to eyeball protein serving sizes when eating out. One portion of protein such as chicken or fish is about the same size as a standard iPhone.
2. Use your desktop mouse to estimate a serving of starchy veggies. One serving of potatoes or wholegrains like brown rice is about the size of a the device.
3. Use your wireless headphones case to navigate a cheeseboard. Assume that one serving of cheese, nuts, or dried fruit is about that size of the dock where you earbuds are stored.
4. Divvy up newly purchased snacks into single-serving snack bags before you put them away in your cupboards. Tip: Check the package's nutritional facts for the total number of servings. You should have that many snack bags when you're done.
5. Stick to the same glass, plate, or bowl. To avoid weighing or measuring favourites like wine every time you pour it, measure it once and mentally mark the correct pour line on the glass. The same trick works for cereals and soups - just stick with your go-to bowl.
6. Stash a measuring cup in your favourite cereal box, then scoop a single serving instead of pouring. Voilà, a perfect portion size!
7. Fill at least half your plate with ZeroPoint®, non-starchy veggies like broccoli, kale, courgette spirals, or spinach. This way, you’ll have less room for foods with Points values, meaning you’re more likely to plate a single portion. No scale required!
8. When buying fish, meat, or poultry, note the weight on the package and number of servings therein. This time, when you cook or serve your proteins, you’ll know how many portions you’re working with - meaning tracking will be easy peasy.
To bulk up portions without adding Points:
9. Wash and pre-cut ZeroPoint produce (like cucumbers, carrots, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, orange slices) and refrigerate in sealed, air-tight containers for easy access to add to any meal or snack - no measuring or tracking required.
10. Double a portion of rice by mixing it with equal parts cauliflower rice. You’ll get two times the volume without using extra Points.
11. Mix minced meat with equal parts sautéed mushrooms for a bigger burger that doesn’t make a bigger dent in your Budget.
12. Ask for double veggies. No matter what you’re ordering - a burrito with sautéed veggies, Chinese chicken and broccoli, or veggie pizza - you’ll increase the amount of food on your plate.
13. Replace half the amount of cream in a sauce or soup recipe with unsweetened canned pumpkin to keep the consistency creamy while halving the Points found in the original ingredient.
14. Use 0% fat Greek yogurt as a base for dips and toppings when the recipe calls for sour cream.
15. Mix snack foods with air-popped popcorn. Because the popcorn contains fewer Points per cup than nuts - actually 0 Points if you're not on the Diabetes-Tailored Plan - dried fruit, pretzels, and crisps, every cup of snack mix will cost fewer you Points than the same amount of a single Points-dense ingredient.
To cut back on weighing and measuring while continuing to track accurately:
16. Choose single-serving snacks like crisps rather than family-sized packages to side-step measuring altogether.
17. Try veggie spirals made from courgettes, kohlrabi, carrots, or konjac (shirataki) instead of grain-based noodles.
18. Pack single-serve cheese sticks when you’re on the go or at home: Add them to any meal for extra satisfaction, or pair one with a piece of fruit for a midday snack that’s part sweet and part savoury.
19. Enjoy snack-sized ice cream treats to avoid overfilling your ice cream bowl. Bonus: Eating prepackaged ice creams at home will help you get used to single serving sizes so you can eyeball proper portions when eating out.
20. Trade crisps for sliced jicama, celery sticks, or radishes with dip. Sticking with ZeroPoint dippers means the only food you’ll have to measure is the dip - much easier!
21. Swap your food scale for this cheat sheet when eating nuts. A 1-ounce single serving equals about 35 shelled peanuts; 49 shelled pistachios; 23 raw or roasted almonds; 18 cashew nuts; or 14 walnut halves.
Have no idea how much you ate?
Guesstimate your portion! Remember, tracking your best guess is better than no tracking at all.