Portion Contortions

At times I find myself trying to contort my portions of food so that my brain thinks that I am getting more food than is actually on my plate. To start, let’s take a look at breakfast.

 

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For breakfast I completely enjoyed my toasted sandwich thin topped with sliced banana, cottage cheese, honey drizzles and cinnamon.  This meal was oh so sweet and satisfying.

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Instead of making the sandwich closed, I left it open faced topping each half with a half of the banana.  Then I topped each half with 1/4 cup of cottage cheese rather than having a 1/2 cup serving all in one scoop.  Ultimately, making the sandwich this way takes up more of the plates surface area, which deceptively makes my mind think I have more food to indulge in rather than one small sandwich that barely covers my plate.  Ideally I could have opted for a smaller plate aiding in that perception. 

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For lunch today I had some leftover brown rice that was mixed with veggies from Sunday Night’s Slow Cooker Chicken and Veggies.  On the side I lapped up some Greek honey yogurt.

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Side note—For Sunday’s dinner, to a crock pot I added three chicken breasts atop one chopped potato, a sliced onion, minced garlic, sliced squash, and corn removed from the ear.  I seasoned it with salt and pepper and poured a can of reduced sodium cream of mushroom condensed soup on top.  I set the cooker on high for four hours.  Two hours in, I poured about a cup of water over the top of the mixture.  Once the slow cooker went off, I cooked brown rice and steamed some brussel sprouts  to add to the slow cooker.  I let the rice absorb the liquid mixture by setting the crock pot to warm setting and letting it rest for about 20 minutes longer.   Here is the picture from my Sunday slow cooker meal.

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The appearance is not the most appeasing, but it was much like a rice and chicken casserole.  My hub enjoyed it thoroughly! 

Back to lunch—I chose a small container to fill my fair portion of rice and veggies (one chicken breast was eaten by me, two others were eaten by hubby for two meals so none was left in the rice).  I often see people bring very large containers for their food and it is sometimes more than a serving but other times they have a whole lot of empty space making it appear to be too little food.

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I found these smaller containers of greek yogurt that are only 90 calories per serving as opposed to the normal 150 calories in the larger containers.  All in all, my rice + veggies combined with the side of yogurt kept me full all the way until dinner.

For dinner tonight, I made a variation of Christina’s Orzo and Shrimp Bake which can be viewed at Hungry Meets Healthy.

9-21-10 009  I did not have tomatoes so I used store-bought tomato and basil sauce instead.  I began by cooking the orzo according to the package.

Shrimp and Orzo with Feta

1 lb. orzo, cooked

1tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

Salt to taste

2 cups tomato-basil sauce

4 ounces reduced fat feta cheese

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350*.  Heat oil in skillet.  Add onion and sauté until softened.  Add shrimp,  garlic, red pepper, and oregano.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Pour shrimp into greased glass casserole dish.  Add orzo, sauce, and salt to shrimp and mix to combine.  Crumble feta over the top of the entire casserole dish.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until heated through and shrimp are cooked.

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For dinner, I used a salad plate.  To bulk up my portion I plated a cup? or so of steamed vegetables and added a cup of the orzo shrimp mixture on top.  I first read of this portioning technique on Julie’s blog at PB Fingers.  I like this idea of manipulating your brain to enjoy the full flavor of the pasta dish, but filling the belly with healthy veggies at the same time.

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Shortly after dinner I felt the munchies settling in.  So to satisfy my sweet tooth I ate a bowl of cereal which contained a mixture of shredded wheat puffs, blueberry flakes, and apple cinnamon o’s.  I actually have a bowl from a chip and dip set that I use for small portion eats.

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Often people trying to lose weight will begin making healthy changes to their diet; however, they do not watch portion sizes.  I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again.  No matter what foods you eat, you can’t lose weight if you consume the same or more calories than your body burns. 

For example, if you make the switch to brown rice or whole wheat pasta, that in itself will not make you lose weight.  A cup of brown rice has the same number of calories as a cup of white rice.  The point of doing that is more about the nutrients your body gains from brown versus white.  In regards to losing weight, perhaps cut back from your normal 2 cup serving of rice to 1 cup or even less.

The bottom line is that you have to be honest with portion sizes.  Use the tricks listed above including using smaller containers and plates, spreading your food out over the plate, or bulking up portions with healthier options like steamed vegetables.

If you have trouble eyeballing portion sizes, take some time to actually measure out portions.  I go through several measuring cups and measuring spoons a day.  But from doing it so much, I do have a better idea of portion sizes.  The list below is a guide for portion sizes if you prefer to manage your portions without measuring.

Serving Size Compatible Object
1 teaspoon 1 dice
2 tablespoons Golf ball
1 cup Tennis ball
4 ounces (meats) Deck of cards
1 ounce (cheese) 4 dice

Questions of the Night:  Do you watch portion size or just eat what you want?  What tips do you use to manage portion sizes?

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2 thoughts on “Portion Contortions

    • Thanks ! I prefer the frozen brussel sprouts made by Steamfresh over the flavor of fresh. My husband likes them either way. The fresh ones I used in this dish had a muddier taste to them, and the frozen ones are a bit sweeter tasting (if that can be used to decribe the veggie?). But it is much like cabbage and I actually add a small amount of sugar to cabbage when braising it stovetop, so maybe that could also be done with brussel sprouts.

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