Friday, November 20, 2009

Portion Control Revisited

I eat healthy foods; at least most of the time. Yes, I have an occasional "treat," but I can honestly say that I stay away from too much salt, sugar, fat, and too many processed foods. The majority of my meals consist of whole, unprocessed, and whenever possible local, organic fruits and vegetables. I almost always start my meals with a salad and drink plenty of freshly made vegetable juice almost every day.

If there is one area where my diet needs improvement, it's portion size. It's no wonder that in one of my very first posts, I asked, "What's A Portion?" And I wrote about it again here, here, and here.

Over the past few months, I have once again focused my attention on portion size. And I think this time, I'm actually more successful than in the past. In fact, for the first time in a long time, I have lost a bit of weight, and I was able to buy jeans in a smaller size the other day.

Here are a few things that have helped me keep my portions under control:
  • eat regularly and don't get too hungry
  • take healthy snacks to work and outings
  • start lunch and dinner with a big salad
  • use a dessert plate instead of a giant dinner plate
  • plate food in the kitchen to avoid mindlessly reaching for a second helping
  • eat cereal, soup, etc. out of a coffee cup
  • be especially mindful when eating "problem" foods (for me), such as pasta (I used to eat soooo much pasta....)
One purchase that came really in handy are the ramekins I bought a few weeks ago. Remember them?

I originally bought them to make mini apple crisps, which I have made quite frequently since. I love the built-in portion control in this dessert...

Soon I started to use them as a serving dish for all kinds of foods. The ramekins are small enough to make a little bit of food seem like a lot more. And there is just something about having a "bowlful" of food and finishing it. It's satisfying!

Here is a ramekin with some nonfat plain Greek yogurt and blueberry preserve.

And here are my favorite organic chips. There are 16 chips in one serving. Counting them out and putting them in a ramekin has been really helpful. In fact, it feels like I'm eating a lot of chips... What a difference to eating them straight out of the bag!

And here is 1/4 cup of granola with some milk. 1/4 cup of cereal looks like "nothing" in a bowl or even a coffee cup. But in the ramekin, it is actually a nice portion.

And finally, two very small scoops of mint chocolate chip ice cream....

Question: What are your portion control strategies and "tricks?" Please share!

Be well,