Maintaining Sanity in Portion Control Madness
Portion control is vital to a healthy diet, we all know this, right? But, there are days and there are times and there are a million valid excuses why you fail at portion control:
- After a long hard day, the last thing you feel like doing is measure a million friggin ingredients.
- You discover the bag of pre-washed salad you bought 3 days ago is a slimy stinky mess…
- You look at the meal you had planned to make and it’s just not what you feel like.
- You have had your eyes glued to the computer, working hard for hours and a Client calls and you have 20 minutes max to eat and get back to work.
- You are missing an ingredient…
- The ingredient is moldy, spoiled, smells or today: the dogs stole my lunch and ate it.
So, wouldn’t be nice to just grab a few things from the freezer? No, not frozen pot pies! But, nice perfectly delicious foods! Today, I was weeding in my garden, I needed a break from converting a site to HTML5. 90 minutes later I am gasping and dripping wet with sweat, it’s 91º and weather.com says it feels like 99º -I agree. Then, I notice it’s 1:35 and I need to eat lunch. Maybe, I had a plan for lunch but right now my brain is a sloppy-slidey puddle sloshing at the bottom of my cranium. I reach into the freezer and pull out a 75 gram bag of fresh blueberries I froze a few weeks ago. I take out a few frozen roasted carrots, a cup of steamed summer squash, a can of sardines and a few Wasa crackers. I microwave the carrots and assemble a plate. The blueberries are yummy and so cold! Later, I run downstairs for a pre-measured chunk of frozen watermelon, while fighting off dogs, who also like frozen watermelon. I kept it all under 300 calories and I didn’t have to calculate anything, it was all pre-measured.
How to correctly measure portions:
- Turn on scale
- Place container on scale
- Tare scale, press zero to subtract weight of container
(or note weight and subtract from total)
- Add food to scale until correct amount shows on scale.
Don’t worry about a tiny bit over or under –sanity remember?
- Wrap and freeze.
No more random dumping into blender for smoothies in the morning, know your portions and calories are correct!
This morning I took one of the blueberry packets and topped it with cottage cheese and it was very satisfying! If it wasn’t portioned, I would probably eat a whole bowl of blueberries, they are that good!
You will need:
- Plastic wrap, ziplock bags, small containers
- An easy-to-read kitchen scale.
- A steamer or pot of water at the simmer.
- A list of the food you are portioning and serving sizes.
- Be sure you make room in your Freezer.
- A tray to keep foods from grabbing racks as they freeze.
Try to go shopping on a day when you have an hour or so free to do this the same day. This way you can buy things fresh and not wait for them to ripen or forget and watch them rot.
Fill a large clean bowl with a mixture of vinegar and water. Use a strainer and dip the fruits and veg into the solution and rinse off with cold water. This will kill mold and germs that may be on the food. Allow fruit and veg to dry on a stack of kitchen towels.
Much of this work is mindless and does not require your full attention, so turn on TV, grab a laptop and watch hulu.com or listen to an audiobook.
I don’t write on each package, but feel free if that’s your thing! I keep the list on the side of the freezer and check things as I pull them out of the freezer. There is always something in there to nosh!
(medium 109 calories, 1 gm ft, 28 gm carb, 1 gm protein)
Peel your bananas and slide into a ziplock bag or container, leave a little space between each, so you can remove one at a time frozen. Immediately freeze. I don’t weigh bananas but you certainly may if you prefer.
Ripe Black Cherries
(100 grams. 63 calories, 16 gms carb, .2 grams fat, 1.1 grams protein)
Have two extra bowls handy and use a thumbnail or paring knife to cut open and remove seed. Seeds to one bowl fruit to other and weigh out 100 grams and wrap in a bundle. They freeze into a mass, and are very delicious frozen
(75 grams or 2.6 ounces. 42 calories, 10.7 g of carbohydrates, 0.6 g of protein)
Buy as much as you can afford, these hit the spot at any meal or snacktime. Wash and weigh out 75 grams.
(100 grams. 32 calories, 7 gm carb, 10 grams fat, gram protein)
Cut off both ends of watermelon. Stand on end and using a sharp knife, carefully cut off outer rind from top to bottom, careful to not remove too much fruit or leave white rind. Cut fruit into chunks and weigh, keeping within 10% of 100 grams. Wrap with plastic wrap and freeze. I am not bothered by seeds but if you are or plan to use in smoothies, remove seeds small spoon. Freeze immediately. Eat partially frozen, kind of squishy thawed.
(100 grams. 75 calories, 18.4 gms carb, .6 gms fat, 1 gram protein)
Buy these when they are perfectly ripe. I got some huge ones recently, only 6 in 100 grams! I allow them to just thaw in my mouth, they release this wonderful merlot flavor!
(150 grams. 69 calories, 17 gm carb, .4g fat, 1 gm protein)
Remove pit and stack halves, last time I measured 2 plums per 150 gram serving, wrap in plastic wrap into a little ball.
(100 grams. 16 calories, 3.9 grams carb, .1 gram fat, .6 grams protein.)
Steam slices or blanch in simmering water for 3 minutes. Freeze in 1 cup or 100 gram portions. Add to soup or as a side dish.
(½ cup or 5 ea. 48 calories, 11 grams carb, 0 grams fat, 1 gram protein.
Peel as many fresh carrots as you can and toss with some olive oil. Sprinkle with cinnamon or fresh grated nutmeg. Roast on the grill or in a 375º oven until a little carmelized. You only need to warm slightly in the microwave for a veg that is so good, you’ll eat as a snack!
Corn on the Cob
1 ear. 120 calories, 27 grams carb, 2 grams fat, 0 grams protein
Here’s a sneaky way to clean corn, cut straight across the stem end, about ½ inch into kernels. Pop into microwave for a minute and grab the top of the husks in one hand and pull off. The steam loosens the silk and it all comes off! Dip corn into boiling water for 3 minutes or steam for 5. Rub with olive oil and wrap in aluminium and freeze. You can leave the frozen packet in the grill while you prepare other foods.
Green Peppers or multi-colors
(⅛ c. 3 calories, 1 grams carb, 0 grams fat, 0 grams protein)
I don’t portion these pepper slices, I lie them flat in the bag to freeze and grab a handful for omelettes or soups or top a salmon/veggie burger. I keep a container of chopped onions in the fridge for the same purpose. I don’t worry about portions due to minimal calories, but i do eat them for the nutrition!
(3 ounces, 94 calories, 0 grams carb, 1 gram fat, 20 grams protein)
I grill up a bunch of chicken breast and measure 3 ounce packets for the freezer and a few for the fridge. I thaw chicken in the fridge a day before I use it.
(4 ounces. 120 calories, 2 grams carb, 2 grams fat, 24 grams protein)
Take advantage of shrimp on sale or if you are near a fish market buy as much as you can afford. wash and weigh out portions and put in little bags. They will thaw in no time if you place the bag under cold running water. Steam, grill or boil and add to a salad or dip into a wasabi sauce.
Grapes are good frozen but must be eaten frozen, often too smooshy when thawed.
Make a big bowl of chopped fruits and veg, use a coffee cup to portion out smoothie ingredients.
Pulverize kale and spinach then freeze in ice cube trays for smoothies.
Some foods are super high in calories and/or fat, like almonds and other nuts. Dried dates are awesome and satisfying but you need to limit them. I will often make sure I have a few portions or half portions around.
Share your tips in the comments below!