Control Freak

I’ve sat in on enough dietitian consultations and sorority house dinners to have distinguished two main problems people have with nutrition. Either, a) people eat the wrong things, or b) they’re eating the right things, but in the wrong amount. Today’s post addresses the latter issue, something I’ve definitely had to adjust in my journey to slenderhood.

Velcome to my keetchen!

First, here are my basics for portion control.

Dry measuring cups, measuring spoons, liquid measuring cup, food scale (ounces and grams)

It may seem tedious to break out these tools every time you have a meal or snack, and I promise you it is. But after enough practice, you’ll either get used to the routine or become adept enough to eyeball appropriate portion sizes without bringing out the big guns.

If you don’t cook much, you might’ve mistaken dry measuring cups for intelligently designed bowls with handles. Not quite. To get slender, you’ll be using these to portion out things like cereals, pasta, rice, chips, fruits, and vegetables. You should always be looking at nutrition labels for serving sizes, but as a general rule, a serving of cereal is 1 cup, and a serving size of cooked rice or pasta is 1/2 cup. Like surprises? Check out the calorie count for a standard serving size of granola.

This may alarm you, but you’ll use the liquid measuring cup to measure liquids. Think things like milk, juice, soup, sauce, yogurt, or my favorite, egg whites. Again, check the nutrition label for serving sizes. Lots of companies try and scam you by packaging foods in an individual serving size fashion, though they actually contain enough servings for you and your little dog too. Lots of juices are guilty of this, so be aware.

Enough of that, let’s spoon:

You’ll use measuring spoons for a lot of different things, but heed this warning: little spoon does not mean little calories. This applies to things like salad dressings, mayonnaise, butter, and oil. Lots of people don’t realize that a standard serving size for salad dressing is only 2 tablespoons for 100+ calories. Fret not, because not everything you’ll allot using measuring spoons is so energy dense and evil. Spoon in as many herbs and spices as you’d like, although I’d be careful not to be too heavy handed with the salt.

I use my food scale primarily for meats and cheeses. A standard serving of protein is 3 ounces, and a standard serving for cheese is 1 ounce. If you think back to your last Italian meal, I think you’ll see why our views on portion sizes are so skewed.

Speaking of your last Italian meal, you’ll only need one tool for controlling portions when you’re out to eat. Hopefully you’ve got a couple on hand.

For meat and protein, use your palm’s area and thickness, or a deck of cards, to estimate 3 ounces. Your entire hand will give ya a meaty 6-ounce portion. For block cheeses like feta, aim for a serving the size of your thumb, or a tube of lipstick. A closed fist will help you estimate a 1-cup serving of fruit, pasta, rice, etc. A scoop from your cupped hand is about half of a cup.

Ok, now stop looking at your hand, it’s weird.


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4 thoughts on “Control Freak

    • So glad you’re reading, Susan! What types of effects are you interested in? Weight loss/gain, blood glucose levels, HFCS versus table sugar, or something else? I’d love to help!

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