Let’s Talk Portion Control

The key for most people to a lot of things like digestion, maintaining or losing weight and fueling your body all depends on portion control. I say most people because before we get into this post, this may not be for you if you have have disordered or restrictive eating in the past. Please consider this before continuing.

Have you ever found yourself eating “healthy” but not losing weight? Did it make you want to give up? Maybe it is your portion sizes. In a land where we get bread before meals, unlimited sodas, bottomless mimosas (a favorite of mine) and huge portions when we eat out, it’s not hard to sometimes understand what a “regular” portion is. We get asked if we want to supersize things when the original portion was probably plenty. We eat chips out of the bag instead of thinking about what the serving size is and figuring out how many services we are actually eating.

The worst things about eating too much is that overfull feeling you get. When I was younger, I used to go to the Pizza Hut all-you-can-eat buffet for lunch and eat until my stomach hurt! It was almost a rule you couldn’t leave until you felt that way (actually, it was a rule, I’m not going to kid myself). I can only imagine the thousand of calories I ingested…then had to go back, sit at my desk and try and have a productive afternoon.

I think I finally got good at portion control when I was packing lunches for my daughter to eat at school. Since she has Type 1 Diabetes, it is essential that she knows how many carbs she is eating so she can give herself the appropriate amount of insulin. Every morning, I pack her lunch and snacks and include a little note with all of the carbs counts for the day.

Packaged foods or single serving items are easy but I have a scale to measure grams or fruits and vegetables. I also use it for chips and other snacks out of a bag (I used to count out 28 veggie sticks or 30 grapes before that scale, so it is a lifesaver!) Almost every type of food has a code you type in so it tells you exactly the nutritional value for that particular serving size. You can get this scale on Amazon. This is great if you are counting your macros as well.

Another way to keep track of your portion sizes and your macros is to use a program like Ultimate Portion Fix. You have several different sized containers representing veggies, carbs, proteins, fruit, healthy fats along with nuts and dressings. Based on a formula, you figure out how many containers or each you can eat each day based on your weight, activity level and goals. This is extremely helpful when preparing your own food at home and something that I have personally used in the past. It also helps to keep eating fruit and veggies in the front of your mind because you have to get your containers in. Alcohol is allowed and counts as one of your carb containers.

The benefits I see from managing my portion sizes really boil down to the fact I feel satisfied but not overly full and bloated when I am balancing my macros with healthy portion sizes. Note the key word satisfied and not hungry. Now obsessively measuring your food when you are NOT eating in a balanced way is not what I am advocating. I am not suggesting you count out 10 almonds to eat for lunch. There is a big difference between restricting your portion sizes and managing your portion sizes. Please take this advice in a healthy and balanced way.

Do you have a problem managing your portion sizes and how does it make you feel? Comment below.

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day to all! We’ll be celebrating my husband today with a fun brunch and cooking up some of the fish he caught yesterday. We’ll try and give him a relaxing day!

I’m also lucky enough to have my dad in my life, although he is several states away. We’ll have a nice phone call today to honor him.

For those of you that don’t have a dad in your life or who’s dad has passed away, I’m sure this day is tough. I hope you have good memories and/or other family support to get you through this day.

When a pandemic gets your nutrition out of wack

Did you start out when the stay-at-home orders came down thinking you were going to learn new skills, cook amazing and healthy meals and get that six-pack you’ve always wanted? I know for me, I was more stressed then ever, working from home and trying to help my daughter with distance learning while running a household and dealing with my husband working longer hours than normal. It was so stressful!

I don’t know about you, but this is my first pandemic so I wasn’t sure what to expect! I think we’ve all had a bit of tears, a bit of boredom, a bit of alcohol and a lot of Uber Eats! OK, probably a lot of alcohol too! What we probably haven’t had as much of is fruits and vegetables!

At a certain point, I decided we had to get back to a little bit of normality. No, we didn’t head to Disney last weekend when they opened and we still haven’t eaten at a restaurant but I am back to meal planning, although it’s a little different than before. Where I would cook 6 chicken breasts in the Instant Pot on Sundays and divvy them up for the week, I am taking meals day by day but I map out what we are going to eat on which days. I also keep lots of vegetables on hand to roast or steam. Our favorites are broccoli, carrots, asparagus and zucchini. I also make a large salad and split it up into small containers. My husband likes to grab one and eat it while dinner is being prepared and I usually eat one as part of my lunch.

Cooking lots of veggies!

I keep my grocery list on my Amazon Echo, so as I see things are needed, I can just say “Alexa, add broccoli to the shopping list” then access the list from my phone while I am at the store. There are also a lot of other grocery list apps you can get on your phone or put it right into your Instacart order as the items come up. Just make sure you have a list so your planned meal doesn’t get derailed and then temptation to eat that frozen pizza overtakes you!

The meal planning sheet, which I purchased from the Pop Flex store, has a grocery list you can write on the side which is easy to tear off and bring with you. The back is also stick so you can put it on the fridge. There are a ton of subscriptions you can buy to help with your meal planning as well. I have used the 131 Method and subscribe to the Monthly Fix on Beachbody, both which layout a weekly meal plan for you along with a shopping list. I also use a macro tracker called LifeSum which has several meal plans you can choose from. I usually don’t follow these meals plans to a tee, but I do pick the meals that I know everyone in the family will like.

This week, I am going to be doing a 3-day refresh to help kick my sugar cravings that have re-emerged since the pandemic started. This does blend well with what my family will eat. I just add a protein to their dinner while I will stick with the veggies. I will link a rundown of the 3-day refresh here for those who are interested.

Another trick is that I plan for leftovers. One of my daughter’s favorite recipes is a homemade Mac & Cheese with flat egg noodles. I put that in the meal plan for Wednesday night and they can eat that Thursday night too since it makes a large pan. I always fill the cooking sheet with veggies to roast as well so we have those for lunches (or even breakfast) and snack for days.

Here’s a peak at my meal plan for this week. It’s a little light because of the 3-day Refresh, which is just a lot of fruits and veggies. The stir-fry is a classic, easy recipe which you can look for on the site soon! You will also see a plan to order from UberEats on Friday, which is a nice way to treat ourselves after a long week. There’s always a healthy way to eat out so stay tuned for tips on that as well.

I always say putting a plan together is half the battle! So happy meal planning and please stay safe and healthy!