Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Portions and Pancakes

Sometimes I crave Chinese food like a mofo. The other night at dinner was one of those times. Instead of spending money and clogging my arteries with 8 servings of New China Dragon Moon Wall, I settled for a frozen Chinese entree (a frozen entree I bought last weekend in anticipation of this craving). To make this dining experience seem more authentic I grabbed some chopsticks. When I poured the meal into my bowl my heart sank. The portion looked TINY in my bowl. There was so much extra room for more food if I had more on hand! 

Instead of caving into the craving for more, I sat down and ate. I ate the whole thing. Know what I didn't feel afterwards? Guilty. It is so nice to eat without guilt, something I rarely feel. Which is crazy. The truth is that the bigger the container is, the bigger the portion, hence the more available. To control portions, you have to control your environment. Note: Serving Sizes are not the same as Portions.

 "In the contest between environment and willpower, the environment always wins." -Bob Tshannen-Moran

If my HOME environment isn't helping me control how much I eat, how can I learn to control it outside of my home? As a test I made a serving size of Quinoa. Barely reached the halfway mark in my bowl! Infuriating.

I need to change my home environment! 

"It's easier to change your environment than it is to change your mind." -Brian Wansink

This whole ordeal took me back to my week at Hilton Head Health and a lecture I attended on Portion Control. The speaker had so many key points that I need to constantly need to keep in mind. 

-Find strategies to knock out a couple hundred calories a day. 
-Use smaller plates as a mindless eating trick for smaller portions.
-Dish out 20% less food than normal. You won't notice the difference. 
-Erase the "clean your plate" tape in your brain. You can waste food or "waist" it. 
-"Without portion control there is no weight control."

To kick things off, I practiced a little portion and environment control this morning with pancakes! Can you think of a happier food to experiment with? Nope.

I found a basic recipe for pancakes on allrecipes.com and modified it a little bit as part of my "strategy to knock out a couple hundred calories a day." Instead of  1 1/4 cups of milk I substituted non-fat Greek yogurt and water, used wheat flour, and left the egg out. By doing that, their recipe went from 421 calories per serving to 346. They weren't as fluffy as I would have liked them but they got the job done and were delish. I could've substituted an artificial sweetener for sugar but I didn't have any. I rarely use sugar for anything at my house, so I never think to buy Splenda!

346 Calorie Pancakes
Serves: 3

The What:
•1 1/2 cups wheat flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
•1 teaspoon salt
•1 tablespoon white sugar
•1 cup lukewarm water
•1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
•3 tablespoons melted butter

The How:
 •Whisk everything together. No need to get fancy. 
•Heat skillet on medium heat with cooking spray (I use Olive Oil spray obviously)
Measure out EACH pancake into 1/4 cup before you pour into the skillet

•Pour into skillet and flip when edges become golden and batter starts bubbling up

This mix made 9 pancakes, which I divided into 3 servings. Yes they're kind of small, but this is a serving size. 

I dressed my pancakes with 6 medium strawberries and 1/4 cup of light syrup, which added 120 calories. I could've cut the syrup portion down but I just looked at the serving size and poured it on. Proof that serving size does not always equal portion size! I could've eaten a smaller portion than the serving size and been fine. I had a ton of syrup left over.

As I was getting ready to serve myself I started thinking about my dishes...

Would I have another frozen Chinese moment? Would I feel deprived if there is plenty of extra space on my plate for more?

Maybe I should use my small plate- trick myself into feeling more full? Research shows that people eat 20-30% more from large plates. I put my pancakes on the large plate and the small plate. The small plate just looked better because it filled the whole thing up. As simple as it seems- your plate size can make all the difference in how much you eat. 

Big Plate. Pancakes look tiny. 

 Small plate. That looks better.

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