Monday, January 14, 2008

Divide and Conquer

For me and other foodies, portion control can be a problem. I haven't talked much about "dieting" on my blog, because I truly believe in living a healthy lifestyle. The word "diet" to me feels like something temporary. I've made a few changes in my life that seem simple but help me reach my goal of moderation and find a balance between eating and exercise.

If you're utilizing healthy cooking techinques such as grilling and steaming your lean proteins and vegetables, trying out new grains and making your meals as colorful as possible, you're already taking great steps and I'm sure you're appreciating the benefits. I love good food and I love to eat, so I started to make eating meals a special occasion, by setting my table with beautiful linens, shutting off the television and planning to spend thirty minutes at the table. This way, I eat slowly, drink my water and savor the food that's in front of me.

I've left measuring and weighing food behind me and now I just divide and plate that is. Here's a visual for you courtesy of Eating Well magazine:

Eating Well magazine suggests the following:

"Fill one half with vegetables and divide the other half into two quarters. Fill one quarter with lean protein, such as fish, skinless poultry, lean beef, beans or tofu. Fill the other quarter with a grain-based or starchy side dish, preferably a whole grain like brown rice, whole-wheat pasta or a slice of whole-grain bread. If you focus on making most of your meals look this way, you’ll automatically be following healthy eating guidelines and choosing appropriate portions—without having to pull out a calorie counter or a measuring cup every time."

I would add to be aware of your dish size. Quartering your plate is great, but don't go over the plate rim! Also, I have a selection of bowls that range from a 1/2 cup to a full cup. I use these when enjoying yogurt, cereal and yes, even ice cream. Doing this helps me to not feel deprived because I get to fill up my plate or bowl. Surprisingly I don't even reach for seconds, because I feel satisfied.

Since I cook the majority of my meals, I don't usually eat out. But I have to share some information about a local restaurant (Bethesda, MD and downtown DC) that's getting it right. Their delicious, healthy fare is presented beautifully AND is appropriately sized. They even include the nutritional information for each appetizer, entree and dessert on their menus. Check out when you get a moment.

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