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?


No Phone Zone

Late this afternoon as she does on every show, Oprah coerced Lisa Ling, a celebrity reporter, to sign the “No Phone Zone” challenge.  On this day I would need no coercing.  At quarter to five this a.m., Herbie woke me up to let him out.  So as I got out of bed I heard my phone fall off the windowsill (as it does often) due to my tripping on the charger cord.  When I returned from letting the dogs out, I picked up my phone to make sure the phone card didn’t come out of its slot, and check that the alarm was still set on it.  The card did not come out, but sure enough my entire iphone screen was shattered!  Baaaah, I wined a bit and hoped that I would be able to get up without any alarm.  I fell back asleep and panicked an hour later when I awoke and thought I overslept until I quickly ran to the kitchen to find that I was up on time.

I was eager to have breakfast this morning because I did in fact purchase some rolled oats to again make some overnight oats.  I really enjoy the thickness, coldness, and creaminess of the overnight oats.  Late last night before going to bed, I added 1 6 oz. container of non-fat plain Fage, the same amount of plain almond milk. 1/2 cup of rolled oats, a tbsp. of honey, 1 small banana, and a small handful of blueberries.  That sat in the fridge all night and this morning my bowl was overflowing (literally, but I cleaned it up for pics) with the rich, dessert-like breakfast.

Along side I had a cup of hot tea, but actually waited ’til after eating to drink it.  My palate couldn’t get used to the mixing of the unsweetened, hot tea and the sweetened, cold oats.

I was quite full after eating this and felt like it was too much for breakfast.  Next time I may cut the recipe in half.


Onto lunch at work– a salad and some crackers.

The mix contained baby spinach, carrots, celery, red and yellow cherry tomatoes (yellow cause I had three left in the fridge and wanted to use those up before opening new pack of red), roasted chinese eggplant from the hubby’s garden, strawberries, ounce of feta, and 2 tbsp. light raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

13 Wheat Thin Fiber Selects on the side.

I also had a small piece of honey bun cake (picture not captured) made by the Parent Coop Club for the faculty to enjoy.  They brought some fancy cupcakes that looked like the ones on Cupcake Wars too.  But I thought a small piece of cake might be less calories than one of the cupcakes, which were only chocolate with heaping mounds of icing by the time I got to them so I didn’t want one anyway.  I prefer yellow or white cakes over chocolate.


When I got home from work was feeling pretty hungry so I ate a couple of snacks.

Carrots and hummus.  Wasa fibercrisp with the new Laughing Cow Light Queso Fresco and Chipotle.

I was actually a little disappointed in the new L.C.  It tasted very much like the swiss with a small hint of bacon!?!  No heat came out s one would think with the name being “Chipotle.”


After a short walk with the dogs, I came home to roast three split chicken breasts.  Two would be used in chicken salad.

As suggested by Ina Garten,  drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roasted at 350* for 40 minutes.  Cooled and skin discarded from two breasts for chicken salad.


2 chicken breasts(roasted and meat removed from bone and shredded)

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup light mayo

1/4 cup light sour cream

1/4 roasted almonds and pecans

1/8 cup of dried cranberries

salt and pepper to taste

Combine everything in food processor.  Pulse until mixed completely and desired consistency reached.

Chicken Salad Sammie and Side Salad

Spring mix salad with roasted eggplant, 3 grape tomatoes, < 1/2 oz. feta, light balsamic vinaigrette


Unfortunately, I was forced to join in on the “No Phone Zone” challenge.  It has only been one day and I feel out of touch with people.  I normally talk to my mom and hubby all evening through texting/phone calls.  I haven’t spoken to either of them.  Well, perhaps, I am not at a complete loss of connecting with people.  I did conjure up a way to connect with Ina Garten, Food Network star.  I channeled  her via Internet to ask her how to roast the chicken breasts. Just kidding.  But I did write a post that hopefully people will look at.  Now,  if only I could come up with a question that readers may want to answer.

Question of the Day: If you could ask one Food Network Star anything, who would it be and what would you ask?

I feel like my students right now with the higher order thinking question.  I’m having trouble answering my own question.  Sheesh!  I have to think about it and I’m getting sleepy.  Good Night!

The Verdict Is In

Yesterday I decided to eat dinner since my stomach was feeling hungry.  The verdict–I took out some penne and turkey meat sauce I had in the freezer from a previous meal.  I ate about 1/2 cup of the pasta/sauce mix and a cup and a half of steamed broccoli.  Since I ate such a late lunch, I didn’t want to eat too much for dinner.  

  However, that did not satisfy me, so I had a Chobani Greek Honey.  To be honest, I could not find the honey.  They forgot to put it in.  It wasn’t on bottom, on top, or in between.  So I added a drizzle of my own to the top.

I also had a juicy, fuzzy peach and called it a night.  (Picture not posted.)