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Measure, Measure, Measure!

Posted Oct 25 2008 4:48pm
Do you get Hungry Girl’s daily email newsletter? Sometimes she really hits on a subject near and dear to me, and today’s newsletter was a double-header. (Click here to read the full text.)

A reader asked why her Special-K cereal said it had 11 1-cup servings when clearly there were no more than 8 cups per box. HG did some research by buying a box of the cereal and measuring it herself. The weight of the cereal did not match the advertised measured serving amount. In other words, a 31-gram serving was 2/3 cup, not one cup. A full one cup was 46 grams, a much larger portion of cereal.

The reason I bring this up is because measuring was a subject I was going to address this week (honest, I really was!). There are some really vague measures on Weight Watchers and I’m getting annoyed with it. For instance, a “large” banana is 2 Points, a “large” potato is 3 Points, a “small” orange is 0 Points. Well I’ve seen some mighty large “large” bananas and potatoes, and some pretty medium-looking “small” oranges, so I’ve resolved to weigh the part I’m going to eat. Being precise can save me (or afford me) a bunch of calories.

For instance, half a “large” AND half a “medium” sized banana, according to WW, both log in at 1 Point each. But what is medium to me might be small to someone else. So finally, after 3½ years on WW, I finally peeled and weighed a banana. Gee, half of what I call a “medium” banana was only 1.75 ounces and therefore .5 points. Splitting hairs? Maybe. But I only eat 22 points a day so those half points can add up and I don’t want to be ripped off!

There’s much more at stake with starchy veggies like potatoes. A large potato can weigh 12 ounces, which is a whopping 4.5 Points. Carrots aren’t calorie-free, either. One cup is 0 points, but two cups or 9 ounces is 1.5! I can easily eat that many carrots and many times I’ve counted them as “free,” but I’m really staying mindful of portion control these days because the scale was up to 130.something last week. I’m back to the 128.somethings again, but only because I stopped thinking of veggies and fruit as calorie free-for-alls. I may be a vegetarian, but I know a lot of obese vegetarians and I don’t want to go back there again.

As for “false advertising” on boxes and containers, I was a little disappointed in my Trader Joe’s Greek yogurt purchase last week. It said it contained two 1-cup servings. Because I only eat a half cup at a time, I figured I had four servings, right? Wrong. I had 3¼ servings. That last scrape on the bottom constituted only a quarter cup. I was so disappointed. But I now know to use the scale and not a measuring cup for a more accurate portion.

This new rule will hold true for other things, too, like pasta and cheese. I can cram a LOT of pasta into a one-cup measuring cup. Same with cheese. Gotta go with the ounces from now on.

The second part of HG’s double-header this morning was about metabolism and how eating smaller, more frequent meals and making sure to stay hydrated will keep your metabolism boosted throughout the day. It’s a good quick read if you’re looking for tips on staying on top of your game.

Time to go make a salad. I’m putting my food scale on alert. No more collecting dust! It’s going to work as hard as I do to help me stay thin and healthy.
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