Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mrs F tackles Portion Control

Okay this is going to be the first in a series of "In The Kitchen With Mrs Furious" video posts. These videos are a little longer so keep that in mind. I am really looking forward to doing more cooking and cooking related videos so keep your eyes open for those.
For those of you at "the office" who can't watch this right now I will paraphrase my rules below.

In The Kitchen With Mrs Furious: Portion Control

I was talking about portion control with my mom the other day and it got me thinking about the ways in which I have built this into the Furious Family diet. I'm no longer calorie counting but I haven't thrown everything out the window. I still carefully monitor our portions.
Here are some of the ways that I do that:

#1 I make enough food for the meal. In our house that typically means cooking three portions. That's it. No leftovers, no seconds, just enough. And it is enough.

#2 I don't weigh everything anymore... but I always weigh our pasta. A "G.I." (gylcemic index) portion of pasta is 1.5 ounces. That is what I serve each of us. Pasta is calorie dense and should be a side dish. This really didn't take that long to get used to. It helps keep our dinners under 500 calories. No one goes hungry... and no one is getting fat either!

#3 I eat a half a sandwich. That's right ONE piece of bread. This is a hold over from the diet. There is just no way to have a whole sandwich and not be going over 300 calories for lunch. This is an easy way to keep your lunch in control. Now I've gotten a few comments about this one. I will clarify that yes it is humanly possible to eat two pieces of bread with some small amount of filling and come in UNDER 300 calories. The point I am making is that more often than not you won't... and even if you do MOST of your calories will be from the bread... aka... carbs. I'm suggesting that one piece of bread is a proper carb portion and that you can have nearly a whole sandwiches worth of filling on it and shave off 100 calories from your lunch.

#4 I measure rice. 2/3c of COOKED rice is a serving. I generally serve a 1/2 c of cooked rice. To make this step really easy I use a 1/2 c measuring cup as my spoon when I serve the plates out of the pot. Again grains are calorie dense. 1/2 c of cooked rice is 100 calories.

#5 Use serving bowls or glasswear that help you control your portions. If I am having ice cream I eat it out of a small juice glass which perfectly holds 1/2 c of ice cream. If I have cereal I use the bowls that fit one serving. You get the idea. This really does help and it is easy to do.

A basic Furious Family dinner for us is 3-4 ounces of protein, 1/2 c rice (1.5 oz pasta), and 1.5-2 c veggies. This is almost always around 400 calories and looks something like 1/2 plate of vegetables, 1/2-2/3 protein, 1/3 -1/2 starch.


Sarah said...

I am completely with you on all your portion size comments! When I serve myself pasta I always think of it as a 'side', like you said, and the sauce (which in our house is 75% veggies) is my main course.

However, serving the bf is a different story. He has an insane metabolism, and I'm pretty sure he burns about 4000 calories a day so I generally try and serve him double if not triple portions of everything. It's a struggle to keep his weight from going down. But no, I'm not jealous!

Mrs. Furious said...

Yeah.... Mr F does not have that metabolism! He thinks he does though ;)
No seriously he's turning 40 and his metabolism is slower than mine.

emmyjw said...

LOL Nolan doesn't either,especially after grad school,he is definately on the chubby hubby side at present...I do the same thing with the measuring cups as serving spoons and I love Barilla plus! Great minds think alike;) Portion control is definately key,when my thyroid is properly adjusted it works like a charm,when it isn't ,I know pretty quick because the scale won't move no matter what crazy cardio or perfect eating I do.Nolan LOVED the potato soup. I am going to make your tomato meatball soup this week too.We are both 33 and he is in major denial about his metabolism slowing down,I have always had to watch it,he used to be able to eat everything and now can't but still does.

Cara said...

that is a great way to measure out the portions! I do the same thing with ice cream but not with the other stuff. Where did you find bowls that only fit one serving of cereal?

Julie said...

I just have to say that I did NOT want to work out today, but because of the cardio challenge, I put on my workout clothes and went to a Jazzercise class. I feel so good. Thanks for the push with the challenge!

moley said...

Mrs F.

Portion control is my major problem, but for the last six months I've been careful and measured things. I go for more rice than you but I'm not a desert person so I still remain within 1,500 cals a day and I've lost 20 lbs so that can't be bad (just 25 more to go).

Obviously not for you Mrs F cos you seem to have cracked it, but for anyone else still struggling the two things, other than portion control, that I have found the most helpful are to use small plates, bowels etc so they don't look half empty and eat slowly. Something I still find a struggle, but when I do it really helps.

Just need to train Mr Mole to cook smaller portions. He probably cooks twice as much as we need and overwhelms the kids in particular.

BTW Mrs F. 2 slices wholemeal bread at 98 cals each, 1oz humous at 80 cals, and half a grated carrot at 15 cals, sprinkle of black pepper - negligible. Total cals for sandwich 291 :-) The advantage of being vegetarian - fillings have less calories! I would end up snacking all afternoon if I only had half a sandwich at lunch time.

Mr Furious said...

We like our desserts/sweets 'round here, so I'lll gladly give up the calories on the rice/dinner to be able to eat something else later on...

That's the other trick. Dessert is a couple hours after dinner. Kid gets hers right before bed, and I eat mine with her (9:00 ish). Mrs F usually has hers after putting Baby down (also after 9:00)

Otherwise you're maxxing out at dinnertime if you have your dessert in the same sitting, and you're still hungry again by 10:00.

soapbox girl said...

Good tips. I'm terrible about eating too many foods that are high on the GI. I especially like the idea of half a sandwich. That's something I could easily start doing.

Gigs said...

Portion control is my nemesis. Maybe this will help me... And sadly I am particularly weak when it comes to rice/pasta. Ugh. I'll give it a try your way, Mrs F! Since you guys eat your sweets later in the evening, what do you say to the theory that you shouldn't eat anything past 9pm? Maybe since you go to bed so late your whole time cycle would be a little different?

Smoochiefrog said...

I just checked my Fitday log for the last time I ate a sandwich. If I had eaten the turkey instead of the ham, my whole sandwich would have been 280 calories. :) Since I ate the ham instead, it was 310 calories. :) It is possible to have a whole sandwich under 300 calories. And that is with mayo & cheese! *Gasp* *The Horror*!!!!

Mrs. Furious said...

go to Ikea. We actually have nice china bowls it just so happens that there is a pattern on them and where the pattern starts is 1 C perfectly. But if you go to Ikea you can take a measuring cup (from there) and walk around and match them up. They have all sorts of little bowls.

Yay!! Good job :)

A half sandwich for me runs about 185-200 calories I really load up on the fillings. But when I say stay under 300 I mean for the whole lunch not just the sandwich. I like to eat fruit or have a cookie too!

Soapbox girl,
yes using one slice of bread automatically makes you stay within proper portion size. I still can get 2oz sometimes if I'm crazy 3 of turkey in there if I want so it is still very filling.

The soup is good. We eat is at least once a week. Now I will say that when you come to AA go to Trader Joe's because their organic tomato soup is the best brand.

I think since we go to bed in the AM the 9 rule is out for us. I'll wake up hungry (for real) if I don't eat closer to my bedtime. I say this... if you are eating in the right calorie range it doesn't really matter when you eat (IMO). I have a fast metabolism and I can't make it 12 hours w/o eating. I usually eat my dessert about 2 hours before bed. If Mr F and I are chatting then we both end up eating more and closer to bed ... damn that peer pressure!

Mamacita Chilena said...

portion control is the absolute hardest! I'm right there with Sarah, my hubby eats massive portions of everything and never gets fat. and my little mini pile of pasta looks so tiny and sad and lonely next to his GIANT heaping bowl full.

Mrs. Furious said...


I am going to need to clarify my statement people. I mean 300 for your lunch. Of course if you don't put a lot of filling on you can have a WHOLE sandwich for under 300... but MOST of your calories will be coming from the BREAD. I'm talking about Carb control with this one!

Mrs. Furious said...

mamacita chilena,
Thanks for commenting!
Yeah that is hard... I don't have to suffer through that thank god! I'm usually the one eating the bigger portion.

P.O.M. said...

You freakin' rock Mrs. F.

And thanks for the comments, as I can't watch videos at work. Well, I can, but all my workers already think I'm just f'ing around and not working.

Deb said...

I dig the wrap-up comments you're giving with each video, because I don't always have time to watch the videos before 10pm. This way I get my dose of Mrs. F and your sage advice when I need it. LIKE RIGHT BEFORE LUNCH when I'm about to power down a sandwich with two slices of bread! Thanks for the well-timed tip!

Smoochiefrog said...

*Sniff, sniff*

But I like my carbs.

Probably why I'm so stinking fat too! LOL

emmyjw said...

Made the soup for lunch,used the Imagine tomato soup,it was great! Nolan wont be home until 8:30 or 9:00 so I fugured we might as well have it for lunch and have an easy sandwich supper.He can heat up soup when he gets home.I am planning on trying the salmon next week too:) Cooking with Mrs. F,way better than food network;)

Torey said...

Oh. . .my hubby needs help in the portion control department. Also in the eating at a speed slightly slower than warp speed department. Any ideas on how to get him to cut down without knowing it? He got married (to me!) and got fat, and up until now, I didn't cook!!

Also, I would totally love some crockpot recipes. There are a few days each way that we're way too busy and a crockpot meal would rock. Any good ones out there? I'm not just asking Mrs. F. I can't be the only woman who doesn't know how to cook without a crockpot!

eurydice said...

interesting... thanks for the tips mrs. f!

Robin said...

Great tips! Thanks. I love being in the kitchen with Mrs F. I look forward to more.

I actually do some of these. I know exactly where to fill my glass so I have 8 oz of milk, and I love my little Ikea bowls for cereal or ice cream. But I never thought about measuring pasta before I cook it, or only making enough food for one serving each. Brilliant!!! It will keep us from eating too much and we won't waste food. We never eat the leftovers.

Preppy Mama said...

Love you for doing this post!! Seriously, I feel like I am sitting in your kitchen. Your posts are so helpful.
Thank you for taking the time to do the videos and sharing them with all of us. I totally appreciate all the time and energy you spend on this.

Mrs. Furious said...

no problem... I don't want anyone to lose their job! ;)

I like to use my carbs where they really count... cookies!

I switched Mr F to the GI portions of pasta and rice a few years ago and he didn't seem to really notice.
I don't use a crockpot very often but I do have a cookbook... I'll bring it to class tomorrow!

I'll try to always post the "talking points".

I'm so glad you guys liked it! The salmon is amazing and so easy!!!
I'm going to try and do a video when I make these next and I'll have a section of food videos down on the side like I have my recipes.

Cooking what we eat has made a BIG difference in how much food we waste. And a box of pasta lasts us FOREVER... talk about eating on the cheap! ;)

Preppy Mama,

moley said...

Mrs F.
I am going to need to clarify my statement people. I mean 300 for your lunch. Of course if you don't put a lot of filling on you can have a WHOLE sandwich for under 300... but MOST of your calories will be coming from the BREAD. I'm talking about Carb control with this one!

Okay Mrs F keep your post partum hair on :-) I was being facetious.

But seriously, I have started having my fruit or cereal bar about 2.5 hrs after lunch to keep me topped up for dinner, so if I have a sandwich then that is all I have. I couldn't stick to one biscuit (cookie) so I just don't buy them. But I have found some lovely organic apple and sultana cereal bars which are 103 cals and very juicy and satisfying so I often have one of those after I've got the kids to bed.

MommyTime said...

I also measure the pasta before I cook it to know what the servings are. But since I have to take lunch (and even dinner too, once a week) with me to work, I always have to cook enough for there to be leftovers. Husband used to just keep wandering past the stove (to get the kids milk, etc) and shoving more bites in his mouth. Then I end up with practically no lunch and he eats two dinners. So now I make three or four servings of the dinner, and I measure into tupperware the one or two servings I want to save, and seal them, BEFORE we even sit down to dinner. Then there's nothing left in the pot for him to nibble. :)

Another useful thing for portion control is to serve him less than a full serving the first time around. He doesn't think it's dinner if he doesn't get seconds. I'm the only one who knows that "seconds" are really just the other half of his first helping...and I'll never tell.

Thanks for all the measurement tips. So helpful, as usual, Mrs. F.

Mr Furious said...

Husband used to just keep wandering past the stove (to get the kids milk, etc) and shoving more bites in his mouth.

Huh? Who ever heard of such a thing?

Mrs. Furious said...

Thanks for saying the tupperware comment I was going to say that.
If I do make enough for two dinners, or what have you, I also immediately separate that portion out. Mr F has been trained that things are cooked in portions and doesn't mess with my system anymore (usually)

Great tip on the hubby... TOREY did you read that?!

moley said...


Husband used to just keep wandering past the stove (to get the kids milk, etc) and shoving more bites in his mouth.

That's me I'm afraid - no willpower. That's why I've banned crisps (potato chips I think!), cakes and biscuits from the house.

I'm the only one who knows that "seconds" are really just the other half of his first helping...and I'll never tell.

LOL Men are such simple creatures aren't they?

MommyTime said...

I'm totally with you about the snack thing. I find it much easier to eat a slightly smaller meal and then have a few healthy snacks like an apple or high-protein/grain bar or something throughout the day. But then, I'm one of those people who turns INSANE when her blood sugar dips too much! :) And then I binge eat on very unhealthy things because I'm hungry enough to eat my own foot.

MommyTime said...

It must be so nice to be able to train Mr F... -sigh- I wish I could do that at my house. I sadly am stuck with bait-and-switch or other tricky maneuvers, since without my sneaky intervention "portion control" at my house typically means "can the amount on my fork right now fit into my mouth?" not "how many forkfulls should I eat?"

But I do think I could be much much better about pasta quantities. It's just so hard in winter when cozy food (read: giant bowls of homemade macaroni and cheese) are all I want to eat!

MommyTime said...

PS I love my crockpot and cook in it a lot. I'll try to post some recipes in the next few days.

Deb said...

Oooh... I want crockpot recipes!!!

Torey said...

Thanks for all the husband training tips!!! I just need to put them into action. . .

Mrs. F-hopefully we'll be there tomorrow. Isaac has an upset tummy this evening!

Amy said...

I totally agree with you about using tiny dishes for portion control. Anthropologie has some great pieces too. I currently use their latte bowls for many of our meals. One of my things with pasta (whole wheat or buckwheat noodles) is to serve it in a bowl nearly filled with green beans, broccoli, or raw spinach - that way my mind registers the volume, but really I'm using 1/2 cup of cooked pasta. This really works well for my husband because he is a true volume eater.

- and Mommytime, I'm with you on serving the husband less than a serving to start with, then IF he's hungry after, he has to go into the fridge (because it has already been put away). To keep things simple I usually make multiple portions when I cook. Then I can freeze some, or make soup from it, or heat it to top a salad.


Mrs. Furious said...

you'll have to go to MommyTime to get those... homey don't play that.

I hope Issac is okay :(

Hey thanks for commenting!
who knew Amy was such a popular name? :)

Torey said...

Thanks Mrs. F. He seems to be feeling better. He had a weird couple of hours that sent me into mommy-panic, but he's fine now. Weird little kid.

In case anyone is interested, I now have two files (huge files) worth of crockpot recipes. One is weight watchers recipes and one is recipes from women on a baby bulletin board that I frequent. I can email them to anyone who wants them. They are both PDFs I think!!

vmadura at gmail dot com

Mrs. Furious said...

Yay for you! :)

I'm glad he's doing better! See you tomorrow.

Shirls said...

I feel so out of the loop, so far behind with not being able to see the videos at work but regardless, thanks for the word play by play!

have to say I always measure my rice, and yes I ony eat 1/2 cup and brown not white please :0)I don't eat ice cream, just not a fan so why waste calories/points on it, makes no sense to me...and I've just never thought of weighing my pasta, but I do use a pasta measure that ironically when I checked makes a one person serving 1.5 ounces according to my scale, how fun is that? I think we do many of the same things though, I have small bowls I like to serve "treats" in because I like having a full plate or bowl, even if its smaller sized the full part makes me feel like I really got something and I too cook in large batches and freeze, I simply don't have time after work to put something healthy on the table from scratch.. I love the tips, keep em' coming!

Mrs. Furious said...

oh yay! I like being on the same page as you... because let's face it you are doing something right! :)

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