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  1. #1
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    Portion control & Presentation

    I'm not sure if you're like me, but I really like to cook however I have a real hard time with portion control when it comes to starches/carbs. So what I've started doing in the last few weeks has really helped with controlling the portions plus it makes the presentation top notch.

    Measuring Cups. yup, pretty simple.

    Last night I made roasted boneless skinless chicken breasts over a bed of quinoa with fresh tomatoes and basil. In the past I would load a couple of serving spoons of quinoa onto a plate and put the chicken breast on top and hey presto, dinner is served. Instead of doing that, I took my 1/2C measuring cup, lightly sprayed it with olive oil, spooned the quinoa into the cup, packed it down a little and plopped it on the plate. Sliced up the chicken breast, put on top of the nicely formed mold, dressed it with some fresh basil leaves and lightly drizzled with olive oil. The presentation was restaurant quality and the quantity was with my daily caloric budget so it's a win win situation.

    I've done this with rice, mashed potatoes and even pasta, it works like a charm plus it makes it look like you're a superstar in the kitchen.

    Have fun and happy cooking.

    PS. don't forget to lightly oil your measuring cups.

  2. #2
    grilled cheesus aham23's Avatar
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    measuring cups, spoons, and a cheap scale are a must for understanding calorie counting and learning proper portions. most Americans have no idea how much, or little, a serving of pasta should be. later.
    Last edited by aham23; 09-17-08 at 07:51 AM.

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    Yes, if you start measuring & weighing stuff you will be amazed at how small most servings actually are...

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aham23 View Post
    measuring cups, spoons, and a cheap scale are a must for understanding calorie counting and learning proper portions. most americans have no idea how much or little a serving of pasta should be. later.
    Most North Americans in general have NO idea how much or little a serving of anything is. And packaged foods don't help matters any by making servings into really odd sizes.

    Take, for example, your 591 ml coke bottle. The information on the side of the bottle is for 250 ml. Do you know anyone who drinks 250 mls out of a 591 ml bottle??? I certainly don't! A 591 ml bottle is, to me, a single serving size. Now I don't have a coke bottle in front of me as I rarely drink it, but if I recall correctly, the calorie content is some odd number per 250 ml, like 186 calories, or something.

    So now a person has got to do a complicated math problem to figure out exactly how many calories is in the bottle of coke ... and it works out to something quite high. Great for the middle of a century ... not so great for an afternoon beverage while sitting at your desk. And I've heard a number of people pick up a bottle of coke and say, "Oh, this has 186 calories (or whatever the number on the side is), without ever looking to see that it is 186 calories per 250 mls, not per the whole bottle.

    And coke is not the only culprit ... lots of packaged foods fool people this way.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by aham23 View Post
    measuring cups, spoons, and a cheap scale are a must for understanding calorie counting and learning proper portions. Most americans have no idea how much or little a serving of pasta should be. Later.
    +1

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Most North Americans in general have NO idea how much or little a serving of anything is. And packaged foods don't help matters any by making servings into really odd sizes.

    Take, for example, your 591 ml coke bottle. The information on the side of the bottle is for 250 ml. Do you know anyone who drinks 250 mls out of a 591 ml bottle??? I certainly don't! A 591 ml bottle is, to me, a single serving size. Now I don't have a coke bottle in front of me as I rarely drink it, but if I recall correctly, the calorie content is some odd number per 250 ml, like 186 calories, or something.

    So now a person has got to do a complicated math problem to figure out exactly how many calories is in the bottle of coke ... and it works out to something quite high. Great for the middle of a century ... not so great for an afternoon beverage while sitting at your desk. And I've heard a number of people pick up a bottle of coke and say, "Oh, this has 186 calories (or whatever the number on the side is), without ever looking to see that it is 186 calories per 250 mls, not per the whole bottle.

    And coke is not the only culprit ... lots of packaged foods fool people this way.
    +1

    Drinks are 20 fl. oz. (591mL for the others in the world) and the bottle says that a serving is 8 fl. oz's (235mL). So that one bottle you will drink is 2.5 servings. Everyone I know drinks a whole bottle. Same thing with chips/pretzels. You think you are buying a small single serving bag, but the back says it is probably 2 - 3 servings.

    P.S. Machka, not sure how they label it in Canada but in the U.S. they label the drinks per serving and per bottle to make it easier.

    Last edited by Jynx; 09-17-08 at 05:02 AM.

  7. #7
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by urbanwhitetrash View Post
    I'm not sure if you're like me, but I really like to cook however I have a real hard time with portion control when it comes to starches/carbs. So what I've started doing in the last few weeks has really helped with controlling the portions plus it makes the presentation top notch.

    Measuring Cups. yup, pretty simple.

    Last night I made roasted boneless skinless chicken breasts over a bed of quinoa with fresh tomatoes and basil. In the past I would load a couple of serving spoons of quinoa onto a plate and put the chicken breast on top and hey presto, dinner is served. Instead of doing that, I took my 1/2C measuring cup, lightly sprayed it with olive oil, spooned the quinoa into the cup, packed it down a little and plopped it on the plate. Sliced up the chicken breast, put on top of the nicely formed mold, dressed it with some fresh basil leaves and lightly drizzled with olive oil. The presentation was restaurant quality and the quantity was with my daily caloric budget so it's a win win situation.

    I've done this with rice, mashed potatoes and even pasta, it works like a charm plus it makes it look like you're a superstar in the kitchen.

    Have fun and happy cooking.

    PS. don't forget to lightly oil your measuring cups.
    +1. That is the perfect method. Its the only way i have been able to control my food intake.

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

  8. #8
    grilled cheesus aham23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jynx View Post
    +1

    Drinks are 20 fl. oz. (591mL for the others in the world) and the bottle says that a serving is 8 fl. oz's (235mL). So that one bottle you will drink is 2.5 servings. Everyone I know drinks a whole bottle. Same thing with chips/pretzels. You think you are buying a small single serving bag, but the back says it is probably 2 - 3 servings.

    P.S. Machka, not sure how they label it in Canada but in the U.S. they label the drinks per serving and per bottle to make it easier.

    liquid calories are a killer for anyone trying to control their diet, drop weight, and/or count calories. most people dont give a second thought to drinking calories. these calories are so empty that it aint funny. later.

  9. #9
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aham23 View Post
    liquid calories are a killer for anyone trying to control their diet, drop weight, and/or count calories. most people dont give a second thought to drinking calories. these calories are so empty that it aint funny. later.
    True- When im trying to lose weight, I try to only drink tea and water. Its a lot better
    than when Id drink Dr Pepper all day.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobartlemagne View Post
    True- When im trying to lose weight, I try to only drink tea and water. Its a lot better
    than when Id drink Dr Pepper all day.
    If you never drink Dr. Pepper and similiar swill, you wouldn't bounce between gaining weight and having to try to lose ...

  11. #11
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by umd View Post
    If you never drink Dr. Pepper and similiar swill, you wouldn't bounce between gaining weight and having to try to lose ...
    Aw come on- its not nice to call the nectar of the gods 'swill'.

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  12. #12
    Senior Member MrCrassic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Most North Americans in general have NO idea how much or little a serving of anything is. And packaged foods don't help matters any by making servings into really odd sizes.

    Take, for example, your 591 ml coke bottle. The information on the side of the bottle is for 250 ml. Do you know anyone who drinks 250 mls out of a 591 ml bottle??? I certainly don't! A 591 ml bottle is, to me, a single serving size. Now I don't have a coke bottle in front of me as I rarely drink it, but if I recall correctly, the calorie content is some odd number per 250 ml, like 186 calories, or something.

    So now a person has got to do a complicated math problem to figure out exactly how many calories is in the bottle of coke ... and it works out to something quite high. Great for the middle of a century ... not so great for an afternoon beverage while sitting at your desk. And I've heard a number of people pick up a bottle of coke and say, "Oh, this has 186 calories (or whatever the number on the side is), without ever looking to see that it is 186 calories per 250 mls, not per the whole bottle.

    And coke is not the only culprit ... lots of packaged foods fool people this way.
    I think this has been corrected, as the nutritional contents on Sprite bottles have the 'traditional' 8 oz serving information and the full bottle information. It's amazing how much sugar is contained in a bottle of Sprite. I've since bought a 20 oz bottle of Sprite and drink it over two days.
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    Senior Member MrCrassic's Avatar
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    Honestly, when you switch to juices, tea or water, after a while, soda begins to taste rather bland. At least it has for me.
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  14. #14
    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrCrassic View Post
    I think this has been corrected, as the nutritional contents on Sprite bottles have the 'traditional' 8 oz serving information and the full bottle information. It's amazing how much sugar is contained in a bottle of Sprite. I've since bought a 20 oz bottle of Sprite and drink it over two days.
    Some things show per container & serving, but most (not just soda, foods in general) still only show per serving.

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    I still have issues with the serving size of pasta. I suppose I should cook a single serving and see how much it makes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
    I still have issues with the serving size of pasta. I suppose I should cook a single serving and see how much it makes.
    Not much, it's like 10 rotinis.
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    In spaghetti or other noodles I am a bit more puzzled. They say something like 2 oz pre cooked is the serving size and that makes roughly 1 cup. Is it one cup packed or loose or ? It seems that measuring portions for noodles would be better using the weight after being cooked instead of cups. Anyhow, I eyeball it. My guess is that I am completely wrong.

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    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
    In spaghetti or other noodles I am a bit more puzzled. They say something like 2 oz pre cooked is the serving size and that makes roughly 1 cup. Is it one cup packed or loose or ? It seems that measuring portions for noodles would be better using the weight after being cooked instead of cups. Anyhow, I eyeball it. My guess is that I am completely wrong.
    You have to go by weight dry. Calories don't care how much empty space there is in the measuring cup.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Indie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrCrassic View Post
    Honestly, when you switch to juices, tea or water, after a while, soda begins to taste rather bland. At least it has for me.
    Same here -- at best bland and artificial, at worst disgustingly sweet.
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    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
    In spaghetti or other noodles I am a bit more puzzled. They say something like 2 oz pre cooked is the serving size and that makes roughly 1 cup. Is it one cup packed or loose or ? It seems that measuring portions for noodles would be better using the weight after being cooked instead of cups. Anyhow, I eyeball it. My guess is that I am completely wrong.
    I would recommend investing in some food scales. You can get good ones for around 40 bucks from Bath and Beyond. Measure before cooking. For most stuff the whole "by cup" measurement is very inaccurate, borderline on useless.
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  21. #21
    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by UmneyDurak View Post
    I would recommend investing in some food scales. You can get good ones for around 40 bucks from Bath and Beyond. Measure before cooking. For most stuff the whole "by cup" measurement is very inaccurate, borderline on useless.
    You can also buy the "ultimate" scale for small bike parts, and be a weight weenie for your gut and bike at the same time. But seriously, my favorite is a Salter glass-top scale, that looks really nice in the kitchen.

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    Senior Member wirehead's Avatar
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    I've gotten to the point where I wait till I'm kinda hungry, stop when I've hit the point where I'm no longer hungry, and then toss the rest in the fridge.

    Works when you don't control portions.

  23. #23
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jynx View Post
    P.S. Machka, not sure how they label it in Canada but in the U.S. they label the drinks per serving and per bottle to make it easier.
    Here, it's just per serving, not per bottle. I wish they would start labelling per bottle. That would make much more sense to me because one of those bottles (591 ml/ 20 oz) is actually one realistic serving.

    Candy is another one. You know those gummy worms and gummy bears? A coworker brought in a large container of them, and passed them around. I'm not really fond of them, but I had one or two, and then looked at the label on the lid. The container contained a little over 1600 calories ... and throughout the day two of my coworkers put away the entire container, less the half dozen or so some of the rest of us had. I calculated that they each consumed about 750-800 in candy that day. But the candies are so small, and were eaten one or two at a time, so it wouldn't have seemed like they were that many calories.


    And about calories in liquid ... there was a time, many years ago, when I worked in a donut shop. I gained weight there (go figure!) so, when I had to get a new uniform in a size larger, I decided it was time to lose some weight. I made one change to my diet ... I quit drinking my calories. No more sugared pop, no more sugar in my coffee and tea, no more fountain lemonade, etc. I still drank as much liquid as I was, it was just calorie-free. And I lost 5 lbs in a week, and kept it off.

    Here's what I often use now ... especially at work. I'm not a big fan of plain water, so adding a bit of flavor helps me drink more, without the extra calories:
    http://www.nestle.ca/en/products/bra...roup=Beverages

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by UmneyDurak View Post
    I would recommend investing in some food scales. You can get good ones for around 40 bucks from Bath and Beyond. Measure before cooking. For most stuff the whole "by cup" measurement is very inaccurate, borderline on useless.
    I have been meaning to do just that. Apparently, my love of pasta is finally pushing me towards getting one. The salter scale umd mentioned looks spiffy.

  25. #25
    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
    I have been meaning to do just that. Apparently, my love of pasta is finally pushing me towards getting one. The salter scale umd mentioned looks spiffy.
    This is mine



    It does 2 gram increments. It seems pretty good but is not always perfectly consistent.

    This is the bike gram scale



    It does single gram increments and is much more consistent, but doesn't look as nice in a kitchen

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