WEIGHING RAW VS COOKED + HOW TO TRACK

raw-v-cooked

Tracking macros in MyFitnessPal is fairly easy, right. Most get the hang of it after a week or so. However, weighing Raw Vs Cooked food is a common tracking mistake.

Weighing Raw Vs Cooked

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Meat and vegetables lose moisture, about 25%, when cooked; meaning they will weigh less after being cooked. While carbs like rice, beans and pasta absorb water and will weigh more after being cooked. Even though these foods change weight during the cooking process, their caloric value stays the same.

With macro counting we are seeking accuracy. Which is why we use a scale compared to eyeballing portions, or using measuring cups and spoons, which can lead to false measurements.

If you are tracking a certain food and select “raw” instead of cooked, yet weigh it cooked, you could be drastically underestimating the amount of calories you are taking in and stalling your results.

Many people weigh their food after it has been cooked, and log it as RAW in MyFitnessPal. This discrepancy can lead to eating hundreds of extra calories a day. Weighing and Tracking your food accurately is key to seeing progress. So, let’s break it down on how to accurately weigh and track your food.

Before getting into the nitty gritty and if you are feeling overwhelmed always come back to these General Guidelines:

  1. If you are weighing it raw = log it raw
  2. If you are weighing it cooked = log it cooked
  3. Be consistent in how you track

WEIGHING AND TRACKING RAW VS COOKED MEAT

As mentioned above there is a shrinkage in meat that happens in the cooking process. Because of this, weighing meat in its raw state is going to be more accurate. So how do we do this?

What this looks like:

COOKING FOR 1:

If you are cooking for one, this is no problem. You weigh out exactly what you want to use, whether it comes raw or frozen, log it that way (use the scan tool to make it easy on yourself if it has one), cook it, and you’re done.  

 

For example: If I am cooking Bison, I would weigh out 4oz raw. I would scan it into MyFitnessPal since it has a barcode. If it didn’t I would select Bison raw oz and log 4oz. I would go ahead and cook this. I don’t need to weigh it when it’s done, even though it weighs less (now 3.10 oz cooked), as I am eating the entire portion that I just made.

COOKING FOR MULTIPLE:

If you are doing a bulk prep or cooking for multiple, this is where there is some confusion.

There are two methods:

  1. Calculate the Shrinkage

If cooking chicken for example:

  • Weigh the chicken raw. (1,126g)
  • Once it is cooked, weigh again. (876g)
  • To figure out the weight per gram of cooked chicken, you take cooked weight divided by the raw weight.                         (876g cooked / 1,126g raw. This equals .78g cooked chicken = per 1g raw)
  • So, if you log 112g of raw chicken, for 25g of protein in MyFitnessPal, you would weigh out on your plate 87g cooked.   (112g x .78 = 87g)

2.Create a Recipe

This makes things easy if you want to avoid math, or if you are adding additional items that need to be tracked. I am always thankful when I take the time to build one out, as they make for accurate logging and the ability to change portions super easy as I am building out my daily meals!

Here is how you build out a Recipe: using the same example of bulk prepping chicken.

        • On Mobile Version: Go to More at the Bottom
        • Select -> My Meals, Recipes, & Foods
        • At the bottom of the Screen, Select -> Create a Recipe
        • Choose, Enter Ingredients Manually
        • Enter a Title, example “Greek Chicken Tenders”
        • Servings: put a place holder of 1 for right now
        • Add all your ingredients – using the scan feature at the bottom of the screen for what you can. Weigh and log chicken tenders. 1,126g
        • Cook the chicken
        • Weigh the chicken after, 876g
        • Go back into the recipe and change the servings to 876g

Now when you go to log Grilled Chicken Tenders in your daily entry and enter 87g, it calculates the serving and will log 25g Protein, no math was involved, and you know what to weigh out.

You can use this recipe over and over, even if you double the amount of chicken you put in because cooking method will yield pretty consistent results.

WEIGHING AND TRACKING RAW VS COOKED VEGGIES

Veggies especially your colorful veggies like winter squashes and sweet potatoes vary between raw and cooked by almost half sometimes, depending on cooking method. Meaning if you put 100 grams of air fried sweet potatoes on your plate you are most likely eating close to 200 grams of sweet potatoes, which is the difference of about 20 carbs. If you do that across 3 meals a day you are looking at an additional 250 calories a day, which could be taking you at of your caloric deficit.

So what are your options? Same as with meat:

  • 1.

    Refer to general guidelines and log it as you weighing it. “Air fried sweet potatoes grams” This will be semi accurate as you are going off of what someone else has entered, but closer than weighing cooked and logging raw. I would suggest this if getting started and feeling overwhelmed, or eating out and estimating your meal.
  • 2.

    Calculate the shrinkage: Weigh the bowl of raw sweet potatoes, then weigh the bowl after they are cooked and figure out what it shrunk by. FOR EXAMPLE: I cooked 415 grams of Sweet Potatoes, and when they came out they weighed 245 grams. 245/415 =.59. So if I logged 180 grams of raw sweet potatoes I would weigh out on my plate 180x.59 = 106g. Or if I am plating my food and then logging I would weigh out what I am going to eat, maybe 145g then divide it by .59 = 245g and log 245g raw sweet potatoes.
  • 3.

    Create a recipe: I would do this in a situation if adding other ingredients that I must track. Refer to the recipe creation guide above.

TIPS

Veggies especially your colorful veggies like winter squashes and sweet potatoes vary between raw and cooked by almost half sometimes, depending on cooking method. Meaning if you put 100 grams of air fried sweet potatoes on your plate you are most likely eating 200 grams of sweet potatoes, which is the difference of about 20 carbs. If you do that across 3 meals a day you are looking at an additional 250 calories a day, which could be taking you at of your caloric deficit.

So what are your options? Same as with meat:

  • 1.

    The nutrition label itself is based off the nutrition facts listed on the product in THAT state. So raw chicken’s nutrition is for RAW chicken. If you buy precooked chicken, the label is for COOKED chicken. Frozen fruit and veggies, the label is stated the nutrition for the weight FROZEN. Because the nutrition label was created off the product in the state it was sold, always weighing it in the state is in is going to be most accurate.
  • 2.

    PRE-PORTION: I have always found pre-portioning ground meats like bison, turkey, and beef into patties or meatballs helpful for meal prep. If these are always 4oz patties or 2oz meatballs it is easy to adjust per person and log. Don’t feel constrained to the shape, I often break these down for pizza toppings or tacos, but there is no guess work or measuring when it comes to dinner on this step making things move a little quicker!
  • 3.

    USE MASKING TAPE: When bulk prepping foods grab some masking tape and label the container with the weight per 1g or oz it cooked out to be (cooked/raw). This is a great shorthand method, so you don’t have to create a recipe and you don’t have to remember tomorrow what the shrinkage was when you go to log.
  • 4.

    Especially with veggies as these do not have a label, look and select entries in MyFitnessPal with a green checkmark by them. Sometimes you have to look around for an accurate one. THINGS TO LOOK FOR:
        • Green checkmark
        • Serving size: has ability to log in grams
        • Has information for Carbs, Fats, Protein, & *Fiber = remember this is a customer loaded database and some entries are blank, meaning 0c, 0p, of, which would not be helpful. Make sure you are selecting an entry that is complete and the numbers make sense.  
Looking for more info on Macros?

Just getting started with Macros? Check out my post HERE, giving the breakdown of what macros are. 

Or are you ready to get started using the Macro Method?  Reach out today for your free CONSULT

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