Portion control is used in thousands of homes throughout the world. It helps consumers to maintain a healthy weight and helps to control childhood obesity. More than just meats are weighed. Consumers weigh starches such as pasta, rice and potatoes too. For baking purposes, some recipes are written in weight measurements other than traditional measurements. With this in mind, it is a good idea to have food-grade scales in the home.
A traditional scale uses a spring system on the inside. The springs retract as items are added to the top. A clock-like face is used on the base with markings for ounces with pounds being displayed in number form. If you are weighing something in a container, weigh the empty container first. This will give you the tare weight of the container. Once this is done, you can add items to the container to properly weigh out portions.
Dry goods, produce, meats and liquids can all be measured on this type of scale.
Digital scales look similar to a bathroom scale in design. With these, a digital mechanism inside the unit measures the weight. A numerical figure is displayed on the screen for you view the weight. Some digital options allow you to set a tare weight. If there is no option for this with a digital display scale, simply use the same method as above, by weighing the container alone and subtracting that from the weight of the items added to the container.
A tare is the weight of a container without anything inside, or empty. This can be a bowl, pan, bag or other vessel. If you are unable to program or set tares, simply weigh the vessel first with no contents in it.
Tares, when they are not calculated into the weight of the total product, can throw off recipes. This can also cause some members of the family to be shorted and not receive enough of an item for proper nutrition. The purpose of a portion calculation scale is to ensure that each family member is getting the right portion size for their age and weight.
Pharmacy Grade Scales
Pharmacy grade scales are quite sensitive, and are beyond accurate. These are often used to weigh liquid medications in a pharmaceutical situation.
A few different types of pharmacy scales, like those featured at Fulcrum Inc as an example, will give you an idea of what is available in this category. These are helpful for that that take several vitamins and/or supplements each day as well as those that are on multiple daily medications. Many have a pill counter feature. This helps the division of weekly pills and supplements to go much faster.
Those that are quite health conscious will also use a pharmacy-grade scale to measure fiber, protein and other types of powder additives for healthy smoothies and shakes. Using a pharmacy grade scale at home for both food preparation and medication management is a positive as one device can be used for multiple functions.
An LED display type of portion scale is often able to be programmed for tare weights of frequently used containers. If you have a set of containers set aside specifically for food weighing purposes, this is where programming in the tares, such as tare 1, tare 2, tare 3 and so on, it will cut down on your preparation time as a whole.
LED displays are far easier to read. They are easy enough to read that children can read them to help create a healthy dinner for the family. When children help to make a meal, they are more likely to eat everything on their plate, even vegetables.
Using scales with LED displays, and other options, helps to get the whole family into a healthy regimen.
Some technologically advanced portion control scales offer an option to alert users when a specific weight is reached. This keeps the guesswork out of reading and calculating weights. This is ideal for weighing out family portions at one time.
Calibrating scales is a challenge but it is just as accurate as digital and tare programmable options. When a scale that is manually calibrated is used frequently, adjustments may need to be made. It is best to check that the hands are exactly on 0 prior to weighing anything to ensure that you are getting a proper reading.
What you can do with these though, is set the tare after weighing the container. Keep your eye on the calibrated mark and remember what the weight is, then add your items and check the weight again. It may be an extra step but if funds are an issue, a traditional, hand-calibrated option is more budget friendly and is equally accurate.
Waterproof and Water Resistant
Given the fact that most food items do have some type of moisture, water or juice that comes from them, ensuring that the scale is waterproof of water resistant is the best idea. This also ensures that the unit can be washed and not just sanitized by being wiped off with food-grade cleaners.
Large Weight Scales
Large weight scales, such as those that can accommodate 8-pounds and more are available. These are ideal if you have a large family or if you are hosting a dinner party. Recipes may call for 4-oz per person or 1-pound prepared products total. In these instances, it is ideal to have a scale that can weigh an entire recipe at one time. It will help to cut down on preparation time.
Whether or not there is a weight problem in the home, it is still a good idea to maintain healthy portion sizes. These practices can be used for all food groups, not just meats and starches. Eating healthy and learning what portions look like on a plate helps younger family members to not overeat and take a proper amount when buffet situations arise. With portion control and healthy eating in mind, the use of any one of the scales above is ideal. It is also ideal to create individual plates as meals are ready rather than serving each completed dish in a bowl on the plate. This helps to prevent overeating in general.