Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Serving Size Blues

I will freely admit that I never paid much attention to serving sizes.  When I would cook, I would put the main course on a platter or in the case of pasta, a large bowl.  I would then put it on the table and everyone could help themselves.  With snacks, we would laugh about some snacks being single servings.  Yea, tell me that you have never finished off a package of Milano cookies. 

If you pay attention to serving sizes, you will be amazed.  The first place to look is at your breakfast cereal.  I will bet that the serving size is 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup.  Measure that out and look and see how much it is compared to what you would normally put into your bowl.  The same could be said for the milk to go with your cereal. 

Serving sizes make me sad.

So what have we done to combat the serving size blues?  Well, first off there is the 9 inch plate. (such a great phrase, huh?)  When you put a single serving on a smaller plate, it looks bigger and you won't feel like you are being deprived.  We now put the main course on the plates in the kitchen and then put them on the table.  That way I will see how many servings there are in a recipe and serve the right size serving.  Again another surprise - the correct serving is usually plenty of food. I will also put the starch part of the meal on the plate in the kitchen.  The serving sizes of those are also a lot smaller than I would normally have eaten but  still plenty of food.   I do put the bowl of vegetables on the table along with the bowl of salad.  Depending upon each family member's likes and dislikes, they can fill their plate with the vegetables and salad.

It seems that most of the recipes that I have found are for 4 servings or more.  Rather than cut back on the recipe (which might be the better choice...) I make the recipe and then divide the leftovers into the correct serving sizes.  That way they are all set in the refrigerator or freezer to be grabbed and put into a lunch bag.  Now, if the recipe is for 4 chicken breasts, I will usually just make the number that I need for that particular meal.

It probably goes without saying, but do not take the bag of pretzels with you in front of the TV and think that you will eat only the serving size.  Take a bowl out of the cabinet, put the right number in the bowl and take that with you.  Eat one piece at a time.  I seem to have taken a particular shine to Chex Mix.  I now know that about half of one of my small bowls is a serving.  It sure doesn't look like much but I eat it one piece at a time.  It lasts longer and it is enough.  After all, it is a snack.  (my new mantra...)

So take some time to check out those serving sizes.  I think you will be surprised.

Thanks for reading!