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

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