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JAMAICANSARAH SparkPoints: (6,406)
Fitness Minutes: (7,666)
Posts: 10
6/21/13 2:25 P

I struggle with the same thing. Chicken breasts are so huge so shouldn't I just eat the whole thing? If I have enough calories left in my day I will but now I've gotten into the habit of cutting mine down and filling the plate with veggies. I've also made a habit of snacking on veggies while I'm cooking dinner. Then when I sit down to dinner I'm not as hungry and don't miss the whole chicken breast/

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
6/21/13 1:55 P

Oh btw... try cooking it "on the bone" - 2 reasons!

1) it looks bigger on the plate. A gigantic piece of chicken! Your brain won't really process the concept that "half of it is bone" - it will just look huge and satisfying. Also takes a while to pick all the meat off the bone, slowing down your meal, which helps improve feelings of satiation.

2) It tastes better. Meat cooked on the bone, ALWAYS tastes better.

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
6/21/13 1:51 P

I remember when I was a kid, you would never get a large drink at McDonalds, they were these hugely comical giant tall cups.... who would drink all that? And we'd get medium. Fast forward to today, and that comically enormous cup is the 2013 version of medium. Everyone drinks that size BY DEFAULT. The culture around us has supersized our portions for years... it's no wonder it is hard to get a grip on REAL "appropriate portion sizes." When every meal you are served for 20 years is sized to feed 1.5, 2 or 3.

I had become accustomed to eating deep-fried chicken fast food lunches. I haven't had one since December 2012. I blogged about those beloved lunches here.
These meals were over 1300 calories. My current calorie intake for a FULL DAY is about the same as one of those lunches. Yeah, it was hard to get used to new serving sizes at first... just try and use some humour and laugh at the funny tiny chicken portion, laughter makes it easier, and you WILL adapt, more quickly than you think, if you give yourself a chance.

Edited by: BUNNYKICKS at: 6/21/2013 (13:52)
MSDIXIE72 Posts: 9
6/21/13 1:45 P

thank you for the reply! I do find that I can stretch both money and portion without family members feeling "jipped" when I cut/dice or slice the chicken into thin strips. I should just make that my regular presentation.

MSDIXIE72 Posts: 9
6/21/13 1:42 P

thank you! I am glad that I naturally eat a good portion when I do order red meat (if I get a filet, I'll always get the smallest and always eat only half). but for some reason I have more of a problem with chicken. I'll need to do more of the creative slicing/dicing and then hopefully it won't be as much of a problem!

MSDIXIE72 Posts: 9
6/21/13 1:37 P

thank you so much for your feedback and honest answer. I'm glad to know others had to learn to adjust their previously "normal" portion.

I also appreciate your comment about my exasperation expletive... "who eats that"??... truly my heart is not judgmental and it's more frustration behind the comment... the fact that the normal to so many of us is over-eating, even down to a basic chicken breast. it made it seem impossible for that moment to me - though I know it isn't. I'm just SO used to it, and irritated that my perception of what I really need is that askew. and the fact is that also, most people around me have the same skewed portion glasses on, too. that's all I meant... for those of you who already do eat these healthy portions, I'm amazed and applauding. :) and hopefully I can get there, too!'s not meant to be negative... more of a chastisement for myself, and I'm sorry if it didn't come across that way. :). emoticon

LDHAWKE SparkPoints: (19,069)
Fitness Minutes: (1,818)
Posts: 771
6/21/13 1:19 P

Just to make it more clear, it is a 3-4 oz. portion per meal, not per day. If you want to bypass the protein 3-4 oz. at lunch and save it for dinner then go ahead and enjoy that 6-8 oz. chicken breast or steak. Just don't eat that amount twice or three times a day!

FP4HLOSER Posts: 968
6/21/13 12:09 P

3-4 oz. is not that much. I have no problem. As for your DH--a man needs more than a woman anyways so if he eats two that is fine for him.

EDIT: I misunderstood your post....sorry.
I think it all depends on what kind of plan you follow. I have to follow a lower carb/higher protein diet so I do eat more than that sometimes.

Edited by: FP4HLOSER at: 6/21/2013 (13:56)
LOUNMOUN Posts: 1,334
6/21/13 12:00 P

I don't necessarily think a 3 or 4 oz chicken breast is too big a portion size for an adult to consume at a meal. However, we can definitely get by with smaller amounts without feeling dissatisfied if we present it right.
In my home we rarely have a whole chicken breast on our plates. Usually they are cut up and 1 or 2 chicken breasts are divided among 3 people in a stir fry, fajitas, salad, soup, or some other dish. It is still very satisfying that way and more economical for us than having a large chuck of meat individually.

SONICB Posts: 4,376
6/21/13 11:47 A

I have never been much of a meat eater and have always stuck to smaller portion sizes. While I enjoy meat, I get tired of the texture & flavor pretty quickly.

Portion distortion is real, and many people have a warped idea of what is an appropriate amount of meat to eat. We have gotten to used to it being so readily available that 8- or 16-oz steaks look "normal" to many people. They get used to seeing and eating that much meat. But they don't need it.

LADYSTARWIND SparkPoints: (83,102)
Fitness Minutes: (65,019)
Posts: 4,896
6/21/13 11:42 A

MSDIXIE72....I need to Thank You....
for apparently your post ***Really Resonated*** with something I had yet to totally figure out. My subconscious was hard at work I guess, for during the night I awoke with an image from a dream that will stay with me forever I think!

The simple picture is:

A Large succulent Chicken Breast weighed 195 pounds on my kitchen scale...
A nice 4" piece weighed 145 pounds....!

I believe your ticker shows your goal is to get from 194 down to 145.... In my case, what I am Used to/Want is what got me to 150lbs again....what I Need will get me to 132! I will never look at a Chicken Breast again without laughing! LOL!!

Edited by: LADYSTARWIND at: 6/21/2013 (11:50)
LDHAWKE SparkPoints: (19,069)
Fitness Minutes: (1,818)
Posts: 771
6/20/13 9:57 P

Who eats 3-4 oz. of chicken? ME, that's who! I also eat 3-4 oz. of turkey, beef, pork ... etc.
I used to eat a whole chicken breast PLUS a thigh or drumstick. That's why I wasn't losing weight. That's why I was gaining weight! I started practicing portion control. Granted, it is not an easy thing to do but if you stick with it, it becomes second nature.

Last night my hubby grilled some chicken parts, a couple of them being chicken breasts. I looked at that whole breast and thought "sure, I can eat that whole thing!" Instead, I cut it in half to get my 3 oz., combined it with 1/4 cup of mashed potatoes (YES, I DID say 1/4 cup!) and a lot of grilled veggies. After eating my dinner, I knew there was NO WAY I could have eaten that whole chicken breast.

Like I said, if you stick with it and practice portion control, it will become second nature to you.

As for going out to eat, when I receive my order I immediately cut the main dish (fish, chicken, beef, pork) in half and either push one half to the side. I do the same with mashed potatoes. I save those leftovers for another delicious meal the next day.

ANARIE Posts: 13,179
6/20/13 8:39 P

"who eats 3-4ounces of chicken?????????"

Yo momma!

Okay, probably not yo momma. But your grandma or great-grandma, definitely. Think about it-- 75 years ago, a skinny, wimpy chicken was Sunday dinner for a family of six or seven. There's no mystery behind the "obesity epidemic;" we eat more. The average American today eats more than 300 calories a day more than the average American in 1977. I don't know the numbers for earlier, but I think it's safe to bet that the average American in 1977 ate at least 200-300 calories a day more than the average American in 1937. And we move a whole lot less-- even my non-farming grandparents walked at least 5 miles a day to the train station, the store, taking their child to school, and so on. The only mystery is why more than half of Americans are still NOT obese.

Look at old traditional recipes, from anywhere in the world, and you'll see that they put a lot of work into stretching the meat, cheese, dairy, and other expensive and high-calorie ingredients. If your ancestry is European, your great-grandma probably made things like stuffed peppers or cabbage (a little meat, some rice or beans, and veggies), or shepherd's pie (a little meat, a lot of veggies, and potatoes), or any number of casseroles. If she was Asian, it was curries or stir-fries or lo mein; if she was Latin American, it was tamales or pibiles or enchiladas. Everybody's early 20th-century relatives made dishes with beans, regardless of ethnicity, and unless they were part of the 1%, they had meatless days.

If you can take that old knowledge and add some modern knowledge (brown rice, whole-grain pasta, etc), you're going to find that not only does your waist slim down, but your grocery bills do, too.

BITTERQUILL Posts: 1,639
6/20/13 6:45 P

I don't think 3-4oz of any meat, even a low-calorie meat like chicken, is at all unreasonable. I do sometimes eat more than a serving if I'm particularly hungry, and there's no harm in that as long as you're aware of it and have room for it in terms of calories and macronutrients. Eating two servings of chicken with your dinner obviously isn't as detrimental as eating two servings of cake. But as another poster said, with time you really do get used to the smaller portions and they don't seem unusually small.

If 3-4oz is not enough, chances are that (like many if not most people), you're not getting nearly enough vegetables. The meat-based meal is a pretty recent phenomenon. Most people think of meat as being the centerpiece of the meal, and vegetables and starches as being sides, but that's not the way it's always been. It's also the reason why so many people think of vegetables as being bland or unpalatable: they simply don't give vegetables enough of a chance to shine on their own.

As such, it may be a good idea to start trying to frame your meal around the vegetables instead of the meat. One of the easiest ways to do that is to make a large salad and top it with sliced chicken, or your protein of choice. A little goes a long way that way, and since you're looking at the food in smaller pieces rather than as one "incomplete" piece (ie your brain thinks of it as "some chicken" instead of "*half* a piece of chicken"), you may not feel like you're being deprived. The same concept works with casseroles, soups and stirfries.

Edited by: BITTERQUILL at: 6/20/2013 (18:55)
CLARK971 SparkPoints: (29,686)
Fitness Minutes: (23,835)
Posts: 827
6/20/13 6:04 P

The portion thing was a problem for me. I had a distorted perception on what a portion was. My serving of ice cream was really like 2.5 servings. (which is what led to me needing to lose weight)

It took me awhile to get a grasp on serving sizes.

Edited by: CLARK971 at: 6/20/2013 (18:05)
TURQUINHA Posts: 134
6/20/13 5:44 P

I eat double that with salad (lettuce, tomato and onion) and I consider it to be within healthy... I mean, plain no skin chicken... not fried nothing...

for me thats a healthy portion...

ICEDEMETER Posts: 1,332
6/20/13 5:43 P

Shocker, isn't it?

The chicken breasts that you get commercially are so huge that even before I started delving in to this bizarre world of "portion sizes" and "weighing your food" and "actually paying attention to food beyond the flavour" I most often could only eat 1/2 to 3/4 of one. My locally raised free-range chickens have smaller breasts, but I still rarely could eat a whole one.

Now that I'm joining the ranks of those who pay a bit more attention, I weigh out what I think that I'm going to eat, and generally have between 100g and 120g. I slice it and fan it out on my plate, drizzle on whatever sauce that I made for that meal, then fill up the rest of the plate with veggies. Occasionally I'll also include a portion of roasted potatoes or rice or quinoa, but not usually.

Honestly, I'm 6 months in to this, and there are quite a few days that I am too full to finish that serving of meat. Veggies apparently are very filling (really, who knew?!?), and a small amount of a strongly flavoured sauce gives me the taste hit that I need to feel satisfied. Those are the days that my leftovers go in to the fridge for lunch the next day.

There are other days when I feel a need for a protein hit, so I serve myself a larger portion and add it to the tracker. As has been mentioned, there isn't a massive calorie jolt in an ounce or so of chicken, so there's always room in my day for an ounce or two or three more if I need it.

I know it's shocking when you first start in to this, but if you are anything like me, then a few months from now it will seem totally normal. You may even have days when that 3 or 4 ounces actually is more than you are hungry for!

Hang in there, and see how it works out for you!

LADYSTARWIND SparkPoints: (83,102)
Fitness Minutes: (65,019)
Posts: 4,896
6/20/13 5:14 P

I also used to eat a whole chicken breast and lots more with it and not bat an eye about it---and that's exactly how I reached about 30 pounds above my ideal weight years ago!! Fortunately for me, the overweight led me down the path of an insulin resistant Pre-Diabetic diagnosis. Working with a dietician, I learned to cut back. She helped me lose about 25 of those pounds. I held that weight for a long time, but started regaining a bit again. When I reached my +5 limit, I realized I needed to be more vigilant. So here I am at Spark, and this time I'm headed ALL the way to that Ideal Weight!!

I think you will find that the advice you've gotten from previous posters is great! Try cutting back the portion size, and adding in more veggies......or keep it as large as you wish, but cut back other calorie sources. Truth is, we really don't NEED that much protein at one sitting....

I really enjoy having the Nutrition Tracker to help me balance out my Carb/Fat and Protein each day (along with total Calories, Na, K and Fiber!!)
Enjoy your journey to a Healthy you!

MSWAN112 SparkPoints: (2,224)
Fitness Minutes: (226)
Posts: 34
6/20/13 4:28 P

I would eat the whole breast and cut back on the rice

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
6/20/13 4:26 P

I eat like that!

It helps if you change how you prepare and/or present the food. A 3-ounce chunk of plain skinless chicken breast laying there on the plate alongside a scoop of rice and a salad can look pretty grim.


If you bbq that chicken breast, and then slice it up, and lay the slices over top of your salad, "chicken caesar salad style" - suddenly 4 ounces seems quite reasonable, generous even.

Or if you fillet that breast into two thinner pieces, barbeque or saute... you end up with lots more "coverage" of your plate than if it were a more cubic-shaped chunk. Eye appeal means a lot!

Sometimes I do want a large portion. What I will do, is have two portions of meat (i.e. 6-8 ounces) and ditch the starch (potato, rice, bread) and fill the hole on my plate where the starch-item would normally sit, with bonus veggies. Calories come out the same, but I get lots more "meat enjoyment" which is, sometimes, exactly what i'm looking for.

It does take a while to come to grips with "portion size."

SANDYW1945 Posts: 2,081
6/20/13 4:22 P

I would weigh the Breast meat and then count it in the food/nutrition tracker. For the most part I weigh all my food. And I can't eat breast meat. It actually gags me so I stick to the dark. Just make sure you are staying within the calories and nutrients for the day. I've had to adjust. I can't eat a lot of starch so sometimes I will eat more protein. If you use the tracker and a scale, you can adjust for your needs.

MEGAPEEJ Posts: 732
6/20/13 4:10 P

Just because it's a portion size, doesn't mean that's all you can eat. I may sometimes eat 2 portions worth of a food because I have the calories for it and that's what I planned. If you want to eat a whole chicken breast, plan and track accordingly. If you're not eating the skin or otherwise adding fat, you're not adding a whole lot of calories for each extra ounce.

But - I do think 4 oz of meat is completely reasonable. When I first started tracking? I was totally eating 8-12 oz of meat at a time, and I realize now that was too much for me and I wasn't even hungry - I was just finishing everything on my plate. Now I may do half a chicken breast, with a large salad and a cup of pasta or rice.

One last little thing - asking "who eats like this????!?" comes across a bit judgmental to those of us that eat like that. It's ok to be frustrated with your own dealings in portion sizes and ask how to do it, but that doesn't make other people's portion sizes wrong.

HEAT04 Posts: 116
6/20/13 4:02 P

I do! I think 3-4 oz is a normal portion. If it's not, I factor it in my day anyway and weigh it out anyway.

MSDIXIE72 Posts: 9
6/20/13 3:59 P

am I
the only one in the universe irritated with chicken portion size? I know dining-out portions are always gargantuan-but even with chicken, even at home, we are used to eating a whole chicken breast for dinner. my husband wants 2 and thinks it is just fine. who eats 3-4ounces of chicken????????? come on. anyone else struggling with this? I cannot imagine rewiring to a half of even a smaller size chicken breast. thoughts?! plus some of the frozen breasts are even bigger... help!

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