Wednesday, June 29, 2016

How I Fill My Plate


Maintaining a healthy lifestyle for me starts with my plate and how I choose to fill it.  It also matters which kind of plate I fill.

Clockwise from upper left - pasta bowl, bread/salad plate
dinner plate, lunch plate, custard dish, cereal/soup bowl

See how much smaller the lunch plate is than the dinner plate

L-R:  soup/cereal bowl compared to a pasta bowl

In order to better manage portion sizes it helps me a lot to simply use smaller dishes.  Instead of using our dinner plates we predominately use our lunch plates and the bread/salad plates for our meals.  I also like to use my vintage custard cups.  Our favorite dishes are a set of four pasta bowls I got years ago on eBay.  The bottoms are the same size as a bread plate with shallow sides.  They are perfect for many different types of meals, other than just pasta.

Pulled pork in a whole wheat dinner roll with coleslaw

I like to fill my plate by thinking about it divided into quarters, like slicing a whole pie into four even sized pieces.  On one half of the plate I fill it with a combination of fruits and vegetables, usually salad.  Then I place my protein or meat on a quarter and the remaining quarter is for my starches and fats.

Broccoli Beef - an all in one one meal served in a pasta bowl

A deck of cards or the palm of your hand is a good way to determine the true serving size of a piece of meat.  Quite often the size of a steak or chicken breast half, in all actuality, is more likely to be two or three servings instead of one.

A serving of  New York Strip with tossed green salad

Learning what true portion sizes really were was a big wake up call for me.  A serving size of bread is typically one slice.  One dinner roll or half of a hoagie roll.  Most of us are used to eating the whole hoagie roll as a sandwich and thinking of it as one serving of bread.  A serving of rice, pasta or mashed potatoes is half a cup.  Half of a medium sized baked potato is also one serving.  My youngest and I will usually share a baked potato.  Mainly because she doesn't really love them.  My oldest will eat the whole thing.

A delicious garden salad

A serving of salad is usually two cups while a serving of steamed vegetables is one cup.  The best thing about vegetables is that it is good to eat more than one serving at a time if you find you are still hungry.  A good rule of thumb to know what a serving size of fruits or vegetables looks like is to make a fist.

Ice cream in a custard cup

A serving size of ice cream is actually a half a cup.  I like to use my custard cups quite a bit for dishing up desserts because it looks more like a full bowl and I'm less apt to overindulge.  I'll make cupcakes more often over cakes for this same reason.


Until I got the hang of what a true serving size was I used my measuring cups and spoons quite a bit.  I read packages too.  Imagine my shock when I discovered a bowl of cereal is only 3/4 of a cup for most cereals instead of 2 cups.  Big difference!

My breakfast served in a pasta bowl
For me, I try to stick to single servings at each meal.  If I find myself still hungry or I've had a lot of activity that warrants my body needing more fuel than on an average day I'll have a second serving of something.  Sometimes it might be a small piece of meat or a dinner roll, but more than likely I'll go back for a second helping of salad.  I love my salads.

Spinach salad, Spanish rice, beef enchilada served on a lunch plate
For my very active and growing children I don't limit their servings.  We start out with single servings and once they have eaten their vegetables they can go back for seconds or even thirds if they like.

Having fresh fruits and vegetable available to my family
makes for healthy snack options

My youngest happens to love salad, while my oldest abhors it, but she eats it knowing it is good for her.  Boosting the nutritional value of the food we consume is always the priority when it comes to meal preparation.

Sliced gala apples with caramel for dessert - Yum!
Strawberry shortcake

Filling my plate like this means I get to eat pretty much whatever I like without having to make sacrifices or go without.  No one likes to have to do that anyway.  If I want a piece of pizza, I can have a piece of pizza.  I just know I shouldn't eat the whole pie.  All things in moderation.

Mashed potatoes & gravy with pot roast served in a pasta bowl
We used bread/salad plates to hold our salads

Filling my plate like this also means I no longer go on any diets.  That in itself makes it all worth it.  How do you fill your plate?

Garden salad, French bread, sausage lasagna served on a lunch plate





Tuesday, June 28, 2016

My Grocery Budget - June Update


This month I went over a bit.  Not too much, but over nonetheless.  Part of that was due to a lot of extra teenagers hanging around that needed to be fed.  It happens!  Fortunately I had the extra money to cover it.


I also went over budget in the non food department by $1.25.  Added to my deficit from my prior month I am now in the hole $19.15.  I bought feminine hygiene stuff, catfood and litter.  With all of us using the girlie products I may need to seriously consider upping the budget a bit.  $25.00 a month might not be all that realistic anymore.


I started the month with $151.00 which sounded like a lot to me.  The ending balance turned out to be $173.87.  Now I'm 22.87 in the hole going into July.  Hopefully I'll be able to make that up quickly.  Fortunately a lot of what I bought is for next month so it shouldn't be too bad.


I bought a lot of fresh produce plus milk and two large packages of steak.  A lot of the meat went into the freezer and we have quite a bit of it waiting for future meals.  I also bought more blueberries to freeze for yogurt, muffins and pancakes.  10 cans of pasta sauce went into the pantry as a big stock up item.  I also stocked up on cereal as we tend to enjoy it a lot more in the summer.


So here is the list of food I bought.  The items highlighted in red are my stock up items:

Groceries
 $$$
Veggie tray
       7.99
Cole slaw mix (2)
       2.58
Sale
Scallions
       0.59
Sale
Celery
       0.36
Red potatoes
       1.68
Lemons
       1.78
Apples
       1.05
Apples
       1.46
Mushrooms
       1.15
Yellow onions
       0.51
Sale
Red onion
       1.12
Cucumbers (2)
       0.99
Sale
Tomatoes (3)
       0.83
Garlic
       0.44
Blueberries
       3.99
Sale
Bananas
       0.90
Almonds
       2.70
Sale
Garbonzo beans
       1.79
Pan spray
       1.47
Vegetable oil
       2.29
Olives (2)
       2.50
Store Coupon
Shredded wheat
       2.49
All Bran
       4.49
Steak
       9.42
Markdown
Corn tortillas
       2.67
Sale
Veggie tray
       5.99
Coupon
Lettuce
       1.34
Coupon
Bananas
       0.73
Chips
       1.59
Sale
Milk - 1/2 gal (2)
       1.58
Store Coupon
Orange juice - 1/2 gal
       0.79
Store Coupon
Corn chips
       1.49
Markdown
Butter (2)
       3.76
Store Coupon
Salmon Fillets
     12.99
Fudgesicles (4)
       3.52
Store Coupon
Hamburger buns
       0.88
Store Coupon
Hotdog buns
       0.88
Store Coupon
Steak
     14.56
Sale
Tortilla chips
       1.00
Sale
Sour cream (2)
       1.76
Store Coupon
Verde sauce (2)
       3.98
Sale
Tomatoes (2)
       0.73
Lettuce
       1.89
Bananas
       1.21
Parmesan
       2.99
Spaghetti sauce (10)
       6.80
Sale
Fudgesicles (4)
       3.52
Sale
Lettuce
       1.49
Grapes
       2.67
Sale
Peaches (2)
       2.00
Dollar Store
Green olives
       1.00
Dollar Store
Potato chips
       1.00
Dollar Store
Vanilla wafers
       1.00
Dollar Store
Marinade (2)
       2.00
Dollar Store
Bread
       1.00
Dollar Store
Kiwi
       1.00
Avocado (2)
       1.79
Lemon
       0.89
Mangos (2)
       0.99
Sale
Spinach
       1.99
Cabbage
       1.29
Blueberries
       2.99
Sale
Onions
       0.68
Broccoli
       2.07
Tomatoes
       0.59
Sale
Bananas
       1.23
Red potatoes - 5#
       3.99
Stir fry veggies (2)
       2.98
Sale
Milk - 1/2 gal (3)
       2.37
Store Coupon
Cheerios
       1.88
Cornflakes
       1.88
Rice krispies
       1.88
Total
 $ 173.87


$173.87 ÷ 30 days ÷3 people = $1.93 per person per day!

Did you stock up on anything this month?  Any super deals?

This budget month runs from June 1 through June 30.