Nothing consumed in December has calories – okay, yes it does – but I still give myself permission to enjoy this peak season for goodies without guilt. Plus, I’m usually in marathon training, so I can usually pull off an extra serving of cheesy casseroles, homemade snack mixes , gooey brownies and pies. But with the New Year knocking on my door, it’s time to examine my excesses and make adjustments as necessary.
If you’ve read my blog on a regular basis, you know I strive to follow a clean-eating, lower-carb routine. But, you’ve probably heard me insist that it’s not human to forever swear off foods like pizza, pasta and chocolate. When I reward myself with just a bit of those indulgences I crave, I’m less likely to feel deprived. And, when I’m not feeling deprived, I won’t wake up in the middle of the night to finish of the leftover pizza!
I don’t count calories, but I do pay attention to portion control and serving size. By the way, there are about 45 M&Ms in a suggested serving of my beloved candy, yet I can be reasonably happy with half that amount! Also, contrary to the amount most people eat at once, a serving of cooked meat (like my favorite tenderloin) is only 3 ounces – and that provides about 25 grams of protein, the optimal amount for a single eating experience.
I love the 10 Secrets of Portion Control that Cooking Light.com shares. My biggest rule for portion control is at the top of their list – Dividing the Plate. Before I pile on my dinner, I mentally make a note to fill one-half my plate with leafy greens or vegetables, one-quarter with a lean protein and the other quarter a quality carbohydrate like sweet potato, whole grain bread or piece of fruit. I also make sure I’m not using a serving platter for a plate! I personally use a standard size dinner plate, but if you are trying to lose weight, another tip is to use smaller plate to help to “visually” fill you up. Research also suggests that using a contrasting color plate that doesn’t blend in with the food eating will help you load up with less – particpants in a study served themselves 22% more food when using plates that matched their food. So, chocolate cake served on a brown plate is a no-no, chocolate cake served on a white plate is better — wink, wink!
This photo shows how people serve themselves more (about 22% more) when the color of their food and plate matches. Tip: Eat less by using a contrasting plate to make your food stand out.
While I’ve never been one to jump on any sort of fad diet bandwagon, I am excited to tell you about the Cooking Light Diet. That’s because it’s not a deprivation diet that forces you to eat strange things you normally wouldn’t or purchase special packaged diet meals. Instead, it’s a “diet” that offers a balanced menu plan that focus so much on flavor that you won’t even notice that the calories in many recipes have been cut by 30 to 50 percent. Simply take the quick online quiz about your needs and preferences and receive custom-selected recipes for delicious, easy-to-make meals delivered straight to your inbox – everything is tailored to your likes, dislikes and specific calorie intake goals.
Here is one of their delicious dinner recipes for Fresh Tomato, Sausage and Pecorino Pasta:
Check out CookingLightDiet.com for more information, to view a sample menu, and to get started. It’s really affordable ($3/week) and well worth the small price just for the delicious recipes – plus, you also get additional portion-control advice, practical fitness tips and cooking tricks and tips to save you time in the kitchen. Use discount code DIETSAVE20 for an additional savings.
This post is sponsored by Cooking Light; however I was not told what to say or how to say it. All opinions are my own.
So, do you have any portion control tips? Please share!