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Improving Your Estimation

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One of the biggest concerns a beginner to macro tracking can face is needing to estimate a meal when there is no nutrition information available. This can be tricky at first, but you’ll quickly figure out how to make it work. To help give you some ideas on how to tackle your first few meals, we compiled a few tips to guide your food selection as well as some ways to better gauge portions.

Use Your Hands

You’ve probably seen infographics from the RDA about using your hands to gauge portions, but hands are wildly different sizes! Make a visual connection between what a portion looks like in relation to your own hand or digits.


Play With Your Food

Test your skills to see how close you can get to guessing the portion of food before putting it on the scale.

Keep to Familiar Foods

When you’re out of the house it’s much easier to estimate foods that you eat routinely. Chances are you will be able to get a lot closer to something like the chicken breast that you eat every day rather than estimating the weight of a hamburger patty if you have never weighed out a hamburger. When in doubt, keep it simple.

Choose Leaner and Lower Calorie Options

No matter how pro we are, or how long we’ve been tracking, estimating will never be a perfect science, but we can help limit the margin of error as much as possible. For example, if we are off by 20g of chicken breast that’s only 20 extra calories that are going unaccounted for versus 80/20 ground beef, being off by 20g would be about 40 extra calories. It might seem small when we’re talking in such small quantities, but throughout the day it adds up.

Practice Makes Perfect-ish

The thought of estimating food might seem daunting when you first start tracking or eating meals out of the house, but it’s super important to remember that every skill takes time to develop. Playing it safe at home and not ever estimating might give you more control over your progress in the short term but it’s important to build your skills, not just hit your macros perfectly. This doesn’t mean you need to estimate all the time, but it does mean that you need to give yourself space to work on skills that you will inevitably use down the line.

What helped you the most build confidence when starting to eat meals out?

Join Team WAG

Love what you learned but still want more guidance and support? Hire a 1:1 coach who will get to know you, your lifestyle and your unique needs and create results that you can sustain long-term. If you're not quite ready to go all-in on hiring a coach, check out our Macro Calculation Cheat Sheet & 18 Tracking Tips and Tricks for macro counting!

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Posted by Kate Hart
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