Published on May 26, 2021
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You know what’s a big YAY in summer? Crab legs! So, here’s some information to help you with portion control and menu planning.
First, you should know that crabs are at different points of growth when fishers catch them, so there isn’t a standard size. The main categories you can find are giant, colossal, and jumbo, each size corresponding to a specific weight (and price). The heavier the crabs are, the more meat they will contain. However, regardless of size, the following facts apply:
1️⃣ A “cluster” refers to the legs from half of a crab connected with a small portion of the body.
2️⃣ There are about 100 calories in a 3-ounce serving of crab legs, although restaurants often serve each person a full “cluster” which is always double that amount, or about 200 calories (= 1 Protein serving).
3️⃣ There’s approximately 50% meat in each crab leg; the larger leg size, of course, will make it easier to pick intact pieces of crab meat.
4️⃣ Since the yield for crab legs is about 50% meat, if you purchase 16-24 ounces for two people, you will end up with between 8-12 ounces of crab meat, roughly 4-6 ounces per person (= 1 Protein serving).
If on occasion you are planning to host a larger-than-usual number of people, for convenience and ease of purchasing the amount of crab legs you will need, you can calculate purchasing and serving one cluster per person (equaling 1 pound [16 oz] per person, yielding about 8 oz. of meat per person = 1-1/2 Proteins.)
One last and important thing, folks:
The “standard measure” of one serving of meat as set by the USDA and as shown on the food pyramid = 3 oz of meat. On my program, as you know, it’s 4 oz. (because I’m living in the real world!). So . . . remember . . . be precise!
A final point. There are several ways to cook crab legs: steaming, boiling, baking, broiling, grilling. Whatever method you choose, and if you’re so inclined, be sure to save the shells after you’re done eating! They’re loaded with intense crab flavor, and you can use them to make crab stock. You can freeze the shells for a long time. Just wrap them in plastic and seal them in a freezer bag.