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?

X’s and O’s, Anything Goes

I awoke once again to the sounds of the rain.  It seems as though someone up above is trying to remind us of the horrid Hurricane Katrina that devastated many lives five short years ago.  Thankfully, my family and I did not have to undergo any major effects of the torrential flooding.    To start my day on a more refreshing note, I began with a cold bowl of cereal composed of 1 cup shredded oats, 1/4 cup apple cinnamon o’s, a handful of frozen blueberries, and a cup of almond milk.  On side–a hot cup of tea.

Putting my desperation of needing to get to the grocery store aside, lunch was an anything goes kind of a meal.

Almond Butter + Blackberry Spread on Whole Grain Bread

Surprisingly, this was a satisfying lunch enjoyed in the comforts of my classroom.  Though it was not anything special, it conveniently allowed me to take a working lunch as there was no need for a microwave and I highly needed to get some tests graded.  I even saved my apple for an after school snack due to my sammie being so fulfilling.

Apple consumed after work.

Unfortunately, I forgot my workout clothes, so had to go home straight from work. 😦  Fortunately,  I made it home safely! 🙂  The streets were nearly flooded and I could hardly see due to the pelting rain.   In addition to my fuji apple, I had a handful of some mixed nuts when I got home.

That all too elusive question then popped in my head–what’s for dinner?  I knew I wanted to do something with ground turkey breast because earlier in the day I texted my hubby to ask him to take it out of the freezer.  I then remembered Julie of PB Fingers mentioning a BBQ meatloaf in her post last week.  I did not have all of the ingredients necessary to make her Cooking Light version, but knew I wanted to use my ground turkey to make a BBQ Turkey Meatloaf of my own.  So I pulled out all of the ingredients I wanted to incorporate into my loaf.

Ingredients

BBQ Turkey Meatloaf

1-1 1/2 lbs. lean ground turkey breast

1 medium bell pepper, chopped (from our garden)

1 tbsp. minced garlic

2 tbsp. hickory smoked mustard (dijon mustard may work too)

10 splashes of worcestershire sauce (more if desired)

1 whole egg

1/2 c plain bread crumbs

1 tbsp. onion powder

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 c BBQ sauce

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350*.  Spray loaf pan with nonstick spray.  Mix all ingredients except for BBQ sauce; hands work best.  (You may opt to add some of the BBQ sauce in the meat mixture or just put on as topping before putting in the oven as I did.)  Once mixed, put into loaf pan.  Top the loaf with BBQ sauce.  Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until thermometer inserted reads 165*.

**Ground turkey has a distinct flavor, so you may want to alter the amounts of seasonings/sauces above to suit your taste.  Or, you may want to substitute lean ground beef which would work just as well, but cooking time may vary.**

Pre-Bake

The loaf was baking away; meanwhile, I peeled, chopped, and boiled two sweet potatoes to be used for mashed sweet potatoes.

Boil until fork tender and drain.

I then went to the archives and pulled out what was a wedding gift to my mom and dad 30 years ago–a mixer.

30 Years Old and Still Runs Like a Charm

I received one of my own at my wedding, but it just doesn’t work as well as this one.

To the drained, chopped sweet potatoes I added:

1/2 cup of almond milk

2 tbsp. Brummel & Brown Yogurt Spread

1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract

1 tsp. of cinnamon

1 tbsp. of honey

I then whipped the potatoes until a desired consistency was reached.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Final Eats= BBQ Turkey Meatloaf + Mashed Sweet Potatoes +Steamed Brussel Sprouts

X and Os on a Plate 😉

As I was plating this, it reminded me of X O X O X O.  Funny how our minds relate to things–especially now having a blog I seem to find things throughout my day that I can relate to foods or other events in my lifetime.  Starting the blog has not just opened my eyes to healthy eating and living.  It has opened them to the world around me.  It makes me find the joys of my days, albeit small joys, rather than dwell on the negatives.

Question of the Night:  If you have your own blog, how has blogging changed your life?  And for those who simply enjoy reading blogs, how has reading them changed yours?

I look forward to hearing your responses. 🙂

XOXO,

Melissa

Cabbage Patch Kids

Breakfast was quick and easy this morning even though I woke up early and could have taken the time to actually cook something.  All I felt like eating was craving was almond butter and banana on a slice of whole grain toast with a cup of hot chai.

There is bread and almond butter under there somewhere.

For lunch today I enjoyed a spring and spinach salad mix with a few grape tomatoes and cucumber slices.  On top, I added some chopped Hormel oven roasted turkey and a sprinkling of Sargento Reduced Fat Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend.  My dressing of choice today was 2 tbsp. of Light Italian.  For some extra protein (since I was going to the gym straight from work) and a bit of sweetness I had a Fage 2% Greek Strawberry Yogurt.

Lunch Time

Pay attention to details; it's more fun to eat that way!

I decided to try working out straight after work rather than get home and have to force myself to go back out.  I think I prefer that better; it is just a matter of getting my clothes together the night before.  Though when I arrived at the gym every single elliptical was taken!  Grrrrrr!  So I started my cardio session on one of the two treadmills that were not in use.  I did 10 minutes at 12% incline at a 4.0 pace.  Then I noticed someone hop off of the true slider elliptical, so I took advantage of the opportune time to hop on.  I did 30 minutes on the elliptical at level 20 for about 25 minutes and level 18 for the other 5.  Lastly I finished up with 10 minutes on the stationary bike at level 5.

When I got home from work I began on dinner.  This morning I took a package of spit chicken breasts out of the freezer to defrost.  I started by browning the chicken breasts in a tablespoon of canola oil.

While the chicken browned I prepped some bell pepper from the garden, half an onion, some carrot sticks, and 5 red potatoes.  Once the chicken was browned on both sides I removed it from the pan and it went into the pot shown above.  Using the same pan from the chicken, I sauteed the veggies except for the potatoes.

Meanwhile, I got some miniature cabbages AKA brussel sprouts sliced and seasoned for roasting.

I recommend using a smaller knife due to the rolling of the sprouts, but that was the knife used for cutting the other veggies and I was trying to eliminate the massive amount of dishes/utensils I use for cooking.

Once the veggies tender I added them on top of the chicken.  Here is wher it may get a bit unhealthified; however, you can still watch your portions.  Next, I put 1/4 cup canola oil and 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour into the *same* saute pan.  I stirred and stirred and stirred until I had a roux (to make gravy) the color of peanut butter more or less.  I then added one cup of water (***Warning***This will cause sizzle of splatter and smoke, so stand back!), a second cup of water, two and a half cups of water total as I removed the pan from the fire and continued stirring and stirring until I had a brown gravy.  Salt and pepper was also added, but much of the flavor comes from the browned bits from the chicken and veggies that were in the pan previously.

Gravy was poured over chicken and veggies and added potatoes.

I munched on these while the chicken simmered for about an hour.   I was able to get some cleaning done in the meantime.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

My Plate--A scoop of rice from last night topped with pulled chicken and veggie mixture.

Tasty if I do say so myself!

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I recently heard that a doll fad of the 80s are making a comeback.  According to Cabbage Patch Kids they never really left the scene despite changing production brands several times throughout the last 30 years.  Funny how things always seem to return into the limelight from such long ago.

Cabbage Patch Kids were one of my favorites (I can’t recall any specifics, but I know Mom fought her way into some stores to get those dolls for my sis and me) growing up along with playing school of course. 😉

Question of the Night:  What was your favorite toy/doll growing up as a kid?

Quick Fix Meal

Quick Fix Post

Breakfast

Almond Butter and Strawberry Jam on Bagel Thin with Hot Green Tea

Lunch

Packed for yesterday but eaten today–turkey and dijonaisse on sandwich thin; salad made of squash, yellow tomatoes, celery, carrots, feta cheese, and drizzle of balsamic/olive oil mix; and apple sauce on the side.


Snack

Another piece of Chantilly Cake…Mmmm, Mmmmm, Good!


Dinner

This dinner came together in a flash.  Twenty minutes and dinner was on the table.  For tonight’s menu–pork tenderloin chops seasoned with salt, pepper, dried thyme, pork seasoning, and garlic powder and baked at 350* for ten minutes. Sides included frozen Steamfresh brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes both cooked in the microwave.  It was quick and easy, yet satisfying.  If only every night’s dinners could be as tasty and quick to fix!

Quick Fix Meal

Added a Tsp Brummel & Brown to the Sweet Tater

Question of the Night:  While I’m all about quickness at the moment, is there a quicker way to upload pictures onto my blog?