The post-holiday issue of Vegetarian Times had an article about portion control. The article proposes a seven day challenge to get reacquainted with normal portion sizes. There was a seven day menu plan and one of the editors was going to take the challenge and blog about her experience everyday on the website.
Well, I am not one for menu plans at all. However, I decided to play along too with whatever I was eating that week. The challenge felt like perfect timing as my eating had really gone to shite during the holidays and then some. Work has been more demanding than usual. As a result, I have been saddled with way more mandatory overtime than I am happy with. When I work too much and only get half a weekend, my cooking usually suffers. I turn into a tv-watching, café-eating work zombie.
I took the challenge as an opportunity to get back on track. When I eat like crap, I really do feel like crap, physically and emotionally. The challenge started in mid-January and that first weekend, I did a big cook on Sunday, wherein I prepared a ton of stuff for the week. I took to measuring out my cereal for breakfast. I counted out the crackers I packed with my lunches. The other foods were more difficult to measure as I made them from cookbooks and wasn’t really sure what a normal serving was. So when I was packing my food into containers, I did half of what my normal, thoughtless tendency would be.
The article talks about how portion sizes have increased by thirty percent in the last thirty years or so and I can believe it. Part of it is the dishes have gotten bigger. I eat off small plates but my cereal bowls are nice and roomy. I caught myself in mid-pour one morning. I was filling the bowl. One portion according to the cereal box is one cup. I took a measuring cup out of the drawer and scooped out exactly half the cereal. I put that into a little baggy for another morning. I measured what was remaining and it was one cup. The box of crackers states one portion is fourteen crackers. That didn’t sound like a lot to me. I can eat half a box of crackers eating salsa or guac. But I was surprised to find that fourteen crackers is plenty.
Not only did I reacquaint myself with what one portion size actually is, but I reacquainted myself with eating more slowly, savoring my food, and eating at the pub table, not the living room table.
So, three weeks later, eating life is good. Really good. I have done a big cook every Sunday. B and I are in food heaven. For instance, this past week I have been packing the following to take to work:
Broccoli, sweet potato, red pepper quiche
quinoa-black bean salad with cucumbers and (homemade!) balsamic vinaigrette dressing (which is actually my late morning snack)roasted butternut squash soup
salad with apples, avocado, mock chicken, cucumbers with hummus dressing
Here is the photographic evidence:
veggie-laden quiche made with silken tofu
roasted butternut squash soup
Since we have gotten back on track with our cooking, I feel way more satisfied after I eat. I feel great in my body as a result of consuming a lot of vegetables and whole foods. We have maybe eaten out two or three times since we have resumed our practice of big Sunday cooks.Thanks, VT, for providing the impetus to resume my healthy-eating ways and get off the holiday track.