T Nation

Food Portions

Hey all. I was wondering,

Do you guys (people on here who actually try to make gains and weigh out every food they eat in order to get an accurate reading of their nutrition at the end of the day) weigh every single little thing in your diet?

I been trying to bulk lately, and I been trying to step up my game as far as nutrition goes. I try to make my meals ahead of time for the next 2-4 days so I never have an excuse for not having food with me.

The problem is that I try to be SO accurate with my numbers that I’ll pick up 200g of ground beef, put it in pan and cook, take 1/4 cup of uncooked rice, put it in rice cooker and cook it. When all of this is done, I’ll take everything and dump it in a tupperware, once it’s in the tupperware I’ll rinse and repeat. Thing is I buy at costco… 2 pound of ground beef cooked in 200g portions, I don’t know if you know, but it takes a fuarkin while… And so is the rice, considering the cooker can cook up to like 10 portions.

Should I just throw the whole thing in the pan and eyeball my portions once cooked? I really don’t know how to cook in bulk and have a good idea of how much I’m eating. And the sad part with that is I don’t make anything tasty or good because then I can’t figure out how to portion it, and I figured if I can’t portion it might as well not eat it…

Chili for exemple, I’ll use x amount of beef, canned corn, canned beans, crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes. I put it all in a slow cooker but how am I supposed to portion that? Some ingredients have their value in cups, some in grams, some in ML. I’m over exagerating it but this kind of problem in nutrition makes bodybuilding a nightmare to me.

Same goes for fruits. Today I bought kiwis, raisins, strawberries, blue berries, bananas… None of them have a nutritional fact on their packaging or anywhere. I try to google the facts but 5 sites are going to give me 5 different numbers… For a while I been ending up straight up not eating fruits just cause of this, and it sucks because I love fruits so much lol.

How do you guys deal with nutrition? Am I going overboard with all this portion thing?

I think you are going a bit overboard with the chili and fruits.

I weighed my ground beef a few times, and now I know how much space it takes up in tupperware so I usually eyeball it at this point. Same with chicken breasts. Not all chicken breasts will weigh the same so you might not hit your exact number, but close is good enough.

Nutritional facts on the back of food packages are estimated and a lot of times, can be very wrong. Add up calories from fat(9 cal/g), carbs and protein(4 cal/g) listed on the back and see if it matches with the calories listed. I bet you half of the nutrition facts you look at are wrong.

so how do you go about that?

Go about what? I’m confused at your question.

It’s a must(if you’re serious about maximizing progress) to weigh your food, at least for a while. After a while, you know how much 7 oz of ground beef is, or what 1 cup of rice looks like.

[quote]Ripsaw3689 wrote:
Go about what? I’m confused at your question.

It’s a must(if you’re serious about maximizing progress) to weigh your food, at least for a while. After a while, you know how much 7 oz of ground beef is, or what 1 cup of rice looks like. [/quote]

I meant about getting the numbers right, what do you do to figure out the nutritional fact of say, bananas who have no nutritional value on them

Using an online food calculator or phone app. The numbers will vary a bit between different brands, but nutritional facts differ as well. If you are in the ballpark of how much each food “costs”, the number is good enough. After a few weeks of consistency with your calculated number, you can then assess if you are undershooting, overshooting or right on track with your goals.

I used myfitnesspal on my phone for a while to track my macros. Once I got my portions down, I stopped tracking macros.

Lean ground beef is 20g protein per 100g raw, use that to calculate how much you want. As for dividing cooked meat, eyeballing is fine since whether it varies a bit meal to meal is not as big an issue as your average intake over the week. Forget about accuracy, focus on eating a certain amount for the week.

For fruit, you can weigh it on the scales in the grocery or bulk section if the total amount is not on your receipt. As with meat simply divide by number of fruit and ignore small differences as total is important. Discard will be less than 5% for stuff like kiwis, about 10% for apple cores, and bananas 36% for the peel.

Download this software:

http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=5720

If you want to weigh stuff, get a postal scale, don’t forget how to tare.

Tell us what your main sources of animal protein are and how much you are aiming for and we can help you with recipes and cooking directions.

surely if you cooking chilli and you know how many portions it should make you can quite easily portion it out.

e.g. if you want 5 portions of chilli get 5 pots and portion it out until they all look fairly equal.

Its all going to average out in over the course of the week or longer whether you have slightly more or slightly less at said meal.

[quote]Ripsaw3689 wrote:
I used myfitnesspal on my phone for a while to track my macros. Once I got my portions down, I stopped tracking macros. [/quote]

^this. For example, once you know how much a cup of rice is raw, it will be within the error range for nutrient measures as the values you see are reported averages, not exact amounts. My preference is for the software I posted. That is where all the data comes from one way or another.

[quote]BruteWithGlutes wrote:
I meant about getting the numbers right, what do you do to figure out the nutritional fact of say, bananas who have no nutritional value on them[/quote]

A medium banana is around 100 Kcal and has nearly 10% of your potassium requirement among other micronutrients.

[quote]xxxx wrote:
Lean ground beef is 20g protein per 100g raw, use that to calculate how much you want. As for dividing cooked meat, eyeballing is fine since whether it varies a bit meal to meal is not as big an issue as your average intake over the week. Forget about accuracy, focus on eating a certain amount for the week.

For fruit, you can weigh it on the scales in the grocery or bulk section if the total amount is not on your receipt. As with meat simply divide by number of fruit and ignore small differences as total is important. Discard will be less than 5% for stuff like kiwis, about 10% for apple cores, and bananas 36% for the peel.

Download this software:

http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=5720

If you want to weigh stuff, get a postal scale, don’t forget how to tare.

Tell us what your main sources of animal protein are and how much you are aiming for and we can help you with recipes and cooking directions.[/quote]

Well I was being borderline crazy with portions of food that have several ingredients in it such as chili and whatever, I figured if I make 5 portions with it, I might get slightly more beef in one portion than the other and figured I wouldn’t meet my macros for the day, but I didn’t think of it as a weekly macro goal like others have suggested, makes stuff easier I guess.

No worries, I’ve been there, to the point of trying to balance fats at each meal. Some people have been taking two days of food and eating a third one day and the other two thirds the next with the higher intake day as a training day. A day will not kill you, the quality of what you eat is far more important.

I just started measuring my macros the other day. I don’t let myself stress about it too much. IMO you’re just looking for ~90% accuracy throughout the day.

Our other options are to either be neurotic about it unnecessarily, or not care at all and be inconsistent with our diets.

[quote]BruteWithGlutes wrote:
Hey all. I was wondering,

Do you guys (people on here who actually try to make gains and weigh out every food they eat in order to get an accurate reading of their nutrition at the end of the day) weigh every single little thing in your diet?

I been trying to bulk lately, and I been trying to step up my game as far as nutrition goes. I try to make my meals ahead of time for the next 2-4 days so I never have an excuse for not having food with me.

The problem is that I try to be SO accurate with my numbers that I’ll pick up 200g of ground beef, put it in pan and cook, take 1/4 cup of uncooked rice, put it in rice cooker and cook it. When all of this is done, I’ll take everything and dump it in a tupperware, once it’s in the tupperware I’ll rinse and repeat. Thing is I buy at costco… 2 pound of ground beef cooked in 200g portions, I don’t know if you know, but it takes a fuarkin while… And so is the rice, considering the cooker can cook up to like 10 portions.

Should I just throw the whole thing in the pan and eyeball my portions once cooked? I really don’t know how to cook in bulk and have a good idea of how much I’m eating. And the sad part with that is I don’t make anything tasty or good because then I can’t figure out how to portion it, and I figured if I can’t portion it might as well not eat it…

Chili for exemple, I’ll use x amount of beef, canned corn, canned beans, crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes. I put it all in a slow cooker but how am I supposed to portion that? Some ingredients have their value in cups, some in grams, some in ML. I’m over exagerating it but this kind of problem in nutrition makes bodybuilding a nightmare to me.

Same goes for fruits. Today I bought kiwis, raisins, strawberries, blue berries, bananas… None of them have a nutritional fact on their packaging or anywhere. I try to google the facts but 5 sites are going to give me 5 different numbers… For a while I been ending up straight up not eating fruits just cause of this, and it sucks because I love fruits so much lol.

How do you guys deal with nutrition? Am I going overboard with all this portion thing?[/quote]

If you know how much everything weighs before you start cooking you can determine total nutritional content of the entire dish and then you can just average it out over how many meals it takes to finish. You need not weigh every single meal. Besides your body does not require the same amount of calories day in and day out. Change it up.

Relax and just eat clean when you are hungry…assuming you are already lean.

Otherwise you really should not be bulking.