Want to know how to use a food scale to count calories properly? I’ll teach you step by step in this article how to do it. I taught my best friend how to do this and he lost 30 pounds in just a few months. Prior to this, he was absolutely convinced that the only way to lose weight was eating a low carb diet.
Well, I’m glad you’ve made it to this page, because counting calories is essential if your goal is to drop body fat and lose weight. And before I teach you how I use a food scale to measure calorie intake, I’d like to briefly let you know that I also didn’t take calorie counting seriously for years. And that’s coming from a health nut. I ate low carb meals religiously, thinking this was the answer to dropping body fat and getting lean.
However, the moment I went against my previous beliefs, and bought a food scale, everything changed. For the life of me, I couldn’t get that defined look I wanted no matter how “healthy” I ate previously. But this method I’m about to show you to count calories caused me to drop 3% body fat and 13 pounds in just a few months. And now I eat pizza and ice cream whenever I want. It was so baffling for a while, and now I just accept that this is how true fat loss happens.
It’s ALL about calories if you want to drop body fat, get lean, and lose weight. And it’s all about using a food scale and a food tracking app together if you want to do it properly. If you already have a food scale and a food tracking app installed on your phone (MyNetDiary or MyFitnessPal), you can skip to the section below labeled “How To Count Calories In Different Foods”.
So, let’s get to it!
Choose A Food Scale With Various Measuring Options
Most food scales have various measuring options, and just in case you don’t already have a food scale, make sure it does have measuring options, so you have the ability to measure your foods in oz, fl oz, g, mL, and lbs. Again, most all food scales have these options.
It’ll make your life easier for the rare occasion when you have to measure foods that only give you information in grams or fluid ounces for instance. But I almost always use ounces as the measuring option for my scale.
My best friend uses grams for most of his measurements, because he grew up using the metric system. So that’s just easier for him. Most modern food scales make it very simple to just tap the conversion button on your scale in order to change your measurements from ounces to grams.
Install MyNetDiary Onto Your Phone
While the food scale is crucial for accurately counting your calories, so is the right phone app to track it all. You can download MyNetDiary or MyFitnessPal as they both have similar functionality. All that matters is the app you use can track all the calories of the foods you eat properly.
I personally have MyNetDiary installed on my phone, and it works perfectly fine for me. It’s free, and even though there’s an option to upgrade, I’ve never paid for it, because the free version has everything you need to track your calories properly.
MyNetDiary adds up all your food intake throughout the day, and gives you a breakdown of your macros (fats, carbs, and proteins). So, whatever foods you weigh on your food scale needs to be tracked inside of the app, so it keeps accurate data of the calories you eat throughout the day.
One thing I want to mention here, is that this app will save you from having to use a food scale for many items, especially if you eat at chain restaurants quite a bit.
How To Count Calories In Different Foods
Now I’m going to discuss how to count calories with foods whose calories aren’t so easy to measure. This includes meats, potatoes, avocados, homemade foods such as breads, cookies, meals with friends, foods from local restaurants, and more. These foods aren’t easy to track, because there’s no label on them telling you how many calories they have.
For instance, one piece of chicken has 350 calories, while another piece has 200 calories. This happens with lots of foods, from potatoes, to cookies, and many more. Well, your food scale is going to make tracking calories for these items incredibly easy for you. Let’s break down the different foods here.
How To Count Calories In Meats, Poultry, & Fish
Did you know that you should measure calories in meats BEFORE they’re cooked? Meat in general shrinks about 25% after cooked, and if you measure calories after cooking, your calorie count won’t be accurate.
So, what I do is place a small plate on my food scale to not get it all slimy with the meat I’m about to weigh. I place the raw meat on the scale. For instance, I had pork tenderloin a few nights ago. I slice it into pork chops. So, I weighed one of those pieces, and it was 7.37 ounces.
Next step is to input that data into MyNetDiary. I search for “Pork Tenderloin” and enter 7.37 ounces. The app lets me know that piece of meat is 351 calories. I save it into the app as part of my dinner. So, here are the steps to measure calories in meats with a food scale.
- Scan the bar code of meat packaging if possible (skip this step if there’s no bar code)
- Weigh meat before on food scale before it’s cooked
- Enter the meat ounces or grams into MyNetDiary
*it’s okay if you just search for “pork tenderloin” in MyNetDiary if you don’t have a bar code for the food.
To make calorie measurements more accurate, scan the packaging before you weigh the meat. I know some meats won’t have a bar code cause you may have picked it up from the deli or a butcher, and that’s fine. But if you can scan the packaging, then do it. For instance, the pork tenderloin I ate was from Aldi. So, before cutting open the packaging, I scanned the bar code of the pork tenderloin with MyNetDiary before measuring the meat on the scale. Once you scan the packaging once, it’s logged in the app and it remembers what you ate. So, even though the rest of the pork is in my freezer, when I’m ready to cook it again, and I type “Pork” into the app, it gives me the option to choose the Aldi pork tenderloin.
How To Count Calories In Potato Chips
This one is really easy. Just grab the bag of potato chips you’re about to eat and scan the bar code. Sometimes, potato chips and other junk food packaging will tell you something like “16 chips is one serving = 140 calories”. You can do that if you want to, and count every individual chip. MyNetDiary will often let you choose how many chips you ate.
But you’ll save time just weighing them on the food scale and your results will be more accurate, cause how are you going to track calories in a potato chip that’s broken in half for instance? So, here’s the 3 steps for measuring calories in chips on a food scale.
- Scan the bar code on the potato chips bag with MyNetDiary
- Weigh the chips on the food scale
- Enter the amount of ounces or grams you’re eating into the app.
How To Count Calories In Homemade Goods
Let’s say you’re preparing homemade bread. Maybe you made a pizza from scratch. What about cookies, cake, a casserole, lasagna, or any other homemade goods?
At first, I didn’t really know how to measure these foods on a food scale, but after comparing measurements of various foods, I learned that in general, a slice of carrot cake has about the same amount of calories, whether you buy it from the bakery, prepare it yourself, or purchase it packaged with a bar code. Of course, the bar code option is easiest to measure.
But when I was eating Christmas cookies last year, there was no bar code. When I made a homemade pizza, there was no bar code. And, when I ate homemade lasagna, I couldn’t just measure that by scanning it. So what do you do?
- Search MyNetDiary for “Homemade ________” (fill in the blank with the food you made).
- Weigh your food on the food scale.
- Enter the amount of ounces or grams of the food into the app.
If this makes you a little nervous cause there’s really no way of knowing exactly how many calories are in homemade goods, you’re still going to be far more accurate measuring this way than just eyeballing it.
I have compared the calorie count of many foods, from homemade pizzas, cookies, breads, and other goods, with name brand items, and the most important part of this process is actually weighing the foods with the food scale. It won’t always be accurate, but it is the best thing you can do.
I did a test recently with homemade Chilean bread my mom gets from a friend of hers. I’ve noticed when I weigh it on the food scale, it has almost the exact same weight and calories as a Thomas bagel. So, I know that weighing it very accurate.
How To Count Calories In Local Restaurant Food
There are a couple of ways you can go about this. There are a lot of local restaurants that I love and they just don’t have calories listed on their menus or their websites. So how do you count calories in these foods?
Well, if it’s a slice of pepperoni pizza from your local restaurant, I would weigh that on the food scale and log it in MyNetDiary as “homemade pepperoni pizza”. I would do the same for lasagna and cookies. So here’s how I’d count calories for local restaurant pepperoni pizza.
- Search MyNetDiary for “Homemade Pepperoni Pizza”
- Weigh the pizza on the food scale
- Enter the amount of ounces or grams of the food into the app
Now, there are going to be some situations that are harder to count calories. I’ll give you an example. I love to get a Chicken Shawarma sandwich from a local Mediterranean restaurant. There are no calories listed on their site for any of their foods.
For a situation like this, what I do, is look online for Chicken Shawarma sandwich calorie info. I’ve learned that it’s somewhere between 500 – 600 calories. You can also type in IDOF, since that is a Mediterranean chain restaurant (I Dream Of Falafel), and you’ll get an idea of how many calories a Chicken Shawarma sandwich has from there.
I will input something like 580 calories, or a ballpark range that is aligned with the different information I find online. That way, I’m rounding up, and probably not overeating on calories to be safe.
This one is easy. You don’t have to weigh these foods on the food scale, cause every major chain restaurant is listed in MyNetDiary, from Chipotle to McDonalds, and Red Lobster to Maggianos.
So, if you’re having Braised Beef Al Forno from Maggiano’s, it’s in MyNetDiary already. Just search for “Maggiano’s Braised Beef Al Forno. You’ll see it’s listed as having 1,760 calories. Just log it. There’s no need to weigh it.
If you’re having a Big Mac of Large Fry from McDonald’s, there’s no need to weigh it on the scale. It’s already easy to input in MyNetDiary. Just enter “McDonald’s Big Mac” and you’ll see 560 calories. Just enter it and you’re done.
Become Best Friends With Food Labels
This may be obvious at this point, but any time you buy food from the grocery store, you should get into the habit of reading food labels and really getting a feel for the amount of calories in the foods that you’re purchasing. This is the game we’re playing. It’s all about counting calories.
If you have access to nutrition labels, it will make life so much easier, because you can just scan them easily into MyNetDiary before weighing them on the food scale.
So, if your goal is to lose weight and drop body fat, the more foods you can purchase that actually have food labels on them, you’re going to have a much easier time losing weight, because the more accurate your calorie measurements will be.
Unless you know exactly how many calories you’re putting into your mouth straight out of a package, you need to measure it with a food scale. You can’t just eat a handful of Cheetos for instance, and sort of guess how many calories are in that handful. It could be 100 calories, and it could be 250 calories. That’s a huge difference.
I know there was a ton of information in this article, and I wanted to really give you the breakdown on how to use a food scale to count calories properly. Plus, there’s some extra information laid out here on how to measure calories in some foods without the food scale. This method is exactly what my best friend used to drop 30 pounds in a few months.
It’s why I threw out the low carb lifestyle and now allow myself to eat what I want when I want. It’s the reason I dropped 3% body fat, and lost 13 pounds in just a few months. If your goal is to lose weight and get lean, then a food scale is a life changing tool.
I hope this article was helpful in explaining how to use a food scale to properly track your calorie intake. If anything wasn’t clear, or you need clarification on something, please leave questions or comments below and I’ll be more than happy to get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you so much for reading.