When your first learning to cook by following recipes. it’s important to measure. It takes a lot of practice to get familiar with the ratios of ingredients that make up a good recipe. Later on you get to be more lax. You make mistakes and learn by experimentation. In the end though, it may be useful to measure the ingredients that are going to be most important to you.
Fats – It can be easy to add a lot of oil to a food you are cooking. 1 tablespoon of fat contains about 120. Fats are the most dense source of calories, containing about 9 calories per gram, compared to about 4 calories per gram from protein and carbohydrates, and about 7 calories per gram from alcohol. If you watching calories, monitoring the amount of fat you add while cooking is a good idea.
Salt – 1 teaspoon of salt is 97% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). It’s a challenge to keep below 2300 grams a day as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) advises, since so many of the processed foods that are common in America are high in sodium. The USDA advises using no added sodium when cooking. I’d rather try and reduce the amounts of high-sodium processed foods in my diet and use salt carefully when I cook.
Meat – Lean meats are a great source of protein, but how much do we really need? The RDA for protein is 46 grams of adult females and 56 grams for adult males. Each ounce of cooked meat contains about 7 grams, so about 7-8 grams of meat is all we need in a day. Getting more than the RDA isn’t a big deal so long as the protein comes from vegetable sources like beans, rice and tofu. Animal sources of protein tend to add saturated fats and cholesterol to our diets which we want to avoid, and are a strain on the environment. So both for ourselves and the planet, I think it’s worth-while to be aware of how much we are eating by measuring when we cook.