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Most experts say motivation, moderation and exercise are the keys to weight loss. But as TODAY nutritionist and diet editor Joy Bauer tells us, there are gadgets out there that can help the motivated dieter keep track of their caloric intake.
Smart Serving Sizer Use Meal Measure to measure standard portion sizes directly onto your own dinner plate. Meal Measure contains three enclosed rings with both ½ cup and 1 cup markings, as well as an open ring perfectly sized to fit a 3 oz. serving of protein. Use the ½ cup line for grains and starchy vegetables and the 1 cup line for non-starchy vegetables and you’re sure to serve a nutritious, well-balanced meal. Meal Measure retails for $19.99 on www.mealmeasure.com
Want to know how many calories are in that McDonald’s Big Mac or Starbuck’s Caramel Macchiato before ordering? Next time you’re standing in line at your favorite chain restaurant, use your cell phone to text “diet1” with the name of the restaurant and menu item. Within seconds, diet.com’s Nutrition on the Go service will send you a reply listing the calories, total fat, carbohydrate, and protein in the requested food. Then you can decide if your midday snack is worth the calories BEFORE chowing down!
The Tanita Duo Scale Plus Body Fat Monitor (model BF680W) provides accurate body weight, body fat percentage, and body water percentage readings so you can precisely track your weight loss progress.
Aim for a healthy body fat percentage, as determined by your age and gender:
Age Good Excellent
20–29 20.6–22.7 17.1–19.8
30–39 21.6–24.0 18.0–20.8
40–49 24.9–27.3 21.3–24.9
50–59 28.5–30.8 25.0–27.4
60– 29.3–31.8 25.1–28.5
20–29 14.1–16.8 9.4–12.9
30–39 17.5–19.7 13.9–16.6
40–49 19.6–21.8 16.3–18.8
50–59 21.3–23.4 17.9–20.6
60– 22.0–24.3 18.4–21.1
In addition to body composition readings, the Tanita InnerScan™ Monitor (model BC534) provides measurements such as metabolic age, bone mass, daily caloric intake, and visceral fat rating. The Duo Scale ($59.99) and Interscan™ Monitor ($99.99) are available for purchase at www.thecompetitiveedge.com.
“Weigh” Cool Kitchen Tool
The Kitrics Digital Nutrition Label Scale helps you fight portion distortion with ease. This full size kitchen scale allows you to measure out appropriate portions of foods we often over-consume, such as meats, nuts, snack mixes, and cheese. What’s more, by punching in the corresponding food code, you can pull up a digital nutrition facts label listing the calories, fat, and sodium in the exact portion you have measured out. Use this feature to measure calories and other nutrients in whole foods packaged without nutrition labels such as potatoes, avocados, bananas, or grapes. Available for $39.95 through QVC.com
Portable Portioning For people on-the-go, Liberta digital food scales from Escali literally fit in the palm of your hand. Now you can control your portions even when you’re away from home. Keep one handy in your purse or briefcase for use when eating out, in a desk drawer at the office, or in your suitcase when traveling. Available in 50, 100, or 500 gram capacity through the Home Shopping Network or other online merchants starting at $29.95. Check out their larger version for the home.
Healthy Dining Made Easy
We all know how difficult it is to scavenge restaurant menus for healthy meal options. Now the registered dieticians at “HealthyDiningFinder.com” have done all the work for you! Visit their website to find easy-to-read listings of the healthiest meal options (750 calories or less) available at popular restaurant chains like Chili’s, Red Lobster, Quiznos, and Arby’s. The site even spells out special requests you’ll want to make (very helpful!)…. like salad dressing substitutions and special preparation instructions. Be sure to take advantage of the free nutrition information offered on www.healthydiningfinder.com so that you can make informed decisions every time you eat out.
Joy Bauer is the author of "Food Cures." For more information on healthy eating, visit her Web site at