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hurley8604

Calculating a serving size

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When making a recipe from a website or a cookbook, I've noticed a lot of times it just says "serves 4" or "serving size = 7". But it never actually tells you how much that is. Some things are easy to figure out. If it's a recipe with 2 chicken breasts and it says it serves 4, I'm going to assume a half breast is 1 serving. But some things just aren't as easy. I posted about this in my current challenge, but thought I'd reach out to the entire community.

 

The recipe I want to try this weekend is a slow cooker chicken enchilada casserole. I put all the ingredients into the recipe builder over at Sparkpeople, put the serving size to 7 as stated, and got the calories. But, how do I know how much food to actually take? It's made in a 6 quart slow cooker. 

 

I don't have a food scale, and don't have the budget or the place to put one (very tiny kitchen). But I do have measuring cups, and this seems like an easy one to just put in a cup to measure out. 

 

I'm also horrible at math.

 

So, how do I figure out how many cups something is when all I get are calories and serving size?

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Well, the lazy answer would be that you should just spend the $10 on a food scale. ;) It can fit pretty much anywhere, especially on it's side. https://www.amazon.com/EPAuto-Digital-Multifunction-Capacity-Precision/dp/B01CYWIYIQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1495122237&sr=1-2-spons&keywords=scale&psc=1

 

Failing that, you can portion the whole thing out - take out 7 containers, and spoon in roughly equal amounts into each. Start with one spoon into all 7, then a second spoon, and so on and so forth. OR, you can use water to measure out the levels on your slow cooker - the physical 'line' for 1L, 2L, 3L, 4L, etc., and then you'll have a rough volume to divide into 7. Best of luck, remember that calories are only ever a rough estimate, so don't make yourself crazy keeping things perfect. :D 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Defining said:

 

Well, the lazy answer would be that you should just spend the $10 on a food scale. ;) It can fit pretty much anywhere, especially on it's side. https://www.amazon.com/EPAuto-Digital-Multifunction-Capacity-Precision/dp/B01CYWIYIQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1495122237&sr=1-2-spons&keywords=scale&psc=1

 

Failing that, you can portion the whole thing out - take out 7 containers, and spoon in roughly equal amounts into each. Start with one spoon into all 7, then a second spoon, and so on and so forth. OR, you can use water to measure out the levels on your slow cooker - the physical 'line' for 1L, 2L, 3L, 4L, etc., and then you'll have a rough volume to divide into 7. Best of luck, remember that calories are only ever a rough estimate, so don't make yourself crazy keeping things perfect. :D 

 

 

^This

 

Food scales are actually pretty small and cheap.  I have one that folds up, even, so you can store it in a drawer until you need it.  Serving size is best done by weight, and not volume, in my opinion, because it evens everything out. (As in it's a hell of a lot easier to compare 100g of potato to 100g of broccoli, compared to trying to fit either of those into a measuring cup.)

 

Otherwise, again, pre-portion things into how many servings you are told are there and store it that way, rather than in one giant pot.  I usually got that route when I'm making a recipe on the fly that's mixed (think meat sauces, curries, chili) and I estimate how many meals I should get out of everything.

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Thanks guys! Looks like I'm adding a food scale to my "to buy" list. 

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Also worth noting. Day to day fluctuations in calorie intake aren't as important as long term trends. So if you are going to eat the whole thing eventually anyway, just go with estimated serving sizes. The total calories will add up so putting in a serving in whatever calorie tracking you are doing will work out fine in the long run.

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That is very true. I'm just focusing on serving size right now, because I think mine have gotten skewed. What I think is a cup of cereal, is more like 2. So I'm just trying to get back into measuring everything again.

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I checked onlne and there are websites available for calculating servings try to check it maybe it will help.

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The ones that I had looked at needed you to actually weigh the food, which I can't do until I get to the store and get a food scale. Maybe I'll look some more and see if there are other ones.

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Typically, when I build a recipe, I use myfitness pal, I build it with all the ingredients and give it a realistic serving size (i.e. what I would typically put on my plate). If the calories look "acceptable" I use that as my "serving size."

 

I also hate doing math and have found fractions to work best. So if I make a pot full of pulled chicken thighs, I ask myself-how many meals am I getting out of this pot. 

 

I also do not use a food scale (and don't have any current plans to). I tend to do fractions, if the recipe calls for 7 servings, I would do a 1/7th of it (but also keeping in mind what someone calls a serving might not fill me up or take care of what I need to eat for the meal/day. 

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