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YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
Fitness Minutes: (120)
Posts: 2,171
4/26/13 4:53 P

Heck yeah, I figured that out way early on... I definitely didn't want to short myself on my rice and pasta :)

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
4/26/13 4:52 P

Oo Yojulez, you're right! Oh my gosh! Bonus rice 4 me!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

PENAM87 Posts: 46
4/26/13 4:48 P

As everyone else said, invest in a scale, measuring cups and spoons. Also another tool that can help:

I like these links for fruit and veggies:

If there's something I can't figure out (portion sizes in grams or ounces) I usually just google it (how many cups is in x grams of cooked rice?) and try to approximate it from what i find. It's helped so far until my scale comes in the mail. Also, pay attention to your food labels as most state what is in a serving.

And another...

Edited by: PENAM87 at: 4/26/2013 (16:51)
BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
4/26/13 4:44 P

Oh that's nothing to be embarassed about, that sounds like a wonderful idea! And kind of tasty too :)

My local produce store will be sending the kids, grandkids, and three further generations of grandkids to college on the proceeds of my produce-shopping ha ha! Yes, I have no trouble at all consuming a half pound or more of veggies in a sitting! The other day I made a cold salad based on roasted fennel and bell peppers, I figure there was at least 12 ounces there, what a great lunch and even with dressing (mostly lemon, a little olive oil) it was only in the 300-400 calorie range.

I love looking at the "eat this not that" images you find here and there, that show what you can get for your calorie budget, i.e. a big plate of stir fry, or, 1/3 of a glazed donut... a huge bowl of soup, or... seventeen fast food french fries... it's very eye opening!

YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
Fitness Minutes: (120)
Posts: 2,171
4/26/13 4:44 P

Bunny, just fyi, 1 cup of cooked long grain rice is 205 calories :) Pasta varies, since sizes vary. But 1 cup of cooked spaghetti is approx 2 ounces dry, which is about 200-220 calories.

This pasta yield map is super helpful for figuring out pasta measurements:
Each "original" measurement is 2oz, which is a correct portion, for me anyway. There's also a link at the bottom that takes you to Barilla's site which lists all kinds of shapes.

OP, as long as the calories fit in with your daily plan, the "correct portion size" doesn't really matter. So, yes, you could have a huge 4-6oz portion of pasta as long as that 400-600 calorie amount falls within your calorie range. But you will find though, that you will fill up faster on larger quantities of lean meat or vegetables, and stuff like a huge portion of pasta won't do you much good. Like Bunny mentioned, I like to bulk up my pasta with stuff like broccoli so I still get a big heaping bowl of food, but the calories stay lower. I also usually eat 5-6 ounces of meat (usually lean meats like chicken) at a meal, because I feel much fuller when I do that than if I ate the recommended portion (which is 3oz) and more of something else.

I also like to eat out of bowls versus a plate, especially stuff like pasta and rice. It looks and feels like I'm eating more that way. At work I have smaller "lunch size" plates so it looks like my leftovers are a ton of food.

Edited by: YOJULEZ at: 4/26/2013 (16:47)
SMARVYGAL SparkPoints: (1,461)
Fitness Minutes: (524)
Posts: 49
4/26/13 4:28 P

Thanks everyone -- I guess learning portion sizes is a trick I will eventually learn with your help. Also, Bunnykicks I eat vegetables all the time now. They fill me up with so many less calories. I'm embarrassed to say but I have eaten an entire 12 oz bag of California blend veggies with low sodium soy sauce or a Mrs. Dash blend when I get hungry.

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
4/26/13 2:53 P

As a general guideline - most "starchy" things like pasta or rice clock in at around 300 calories per cup. That would be a "normal serving size" - which, yes, I found that a shock, to see 1 cup of spaghetti noodles sprawled out across a plate - that is IT? Yes, that is it! Now compare that to what you get in a restaurant.... I bet most places give 2, 3 cups or more (plus the sauce/toppings). No wonder we've all lost touch with what a "portion size" is supposed to be!

It's easy enough to figure out portion sizes on meat - about 4 ounces of "Raw" will translate to 3, 3.5 ounces of "cooked" - so get a one pound package of pork chops, if there's 4 in the bag, then they are each about a serving.

Butter and oil is over 100 calories/tablespoon. I personally try to keep individual servings of these sorts of calorie-dense foods down to 1 tsp at a time.

So now you have this small cup of pasta, this little piece of chicken, and a teaspoon of oil. How to make it look like "more"? Vegetables!!! Bulk up everything with lots and lots and lots of peppers, green beans, onions, carrots, asparagus, spinach, celery, etc. etc. etc, whatever you like. You can eat a LOT of (non-starchy) vegetables for 100 calories. Bulking up my menu with veggies has been my saving grace, honestly. A lot of this struggle is mental - and having your food LOOK like it is a "big enough serving" is a tool in your arsenel.

ICEDEMETER Posts: 1,332
4/26/13 2:07 P

Kudos on your success so far!

This article might interest you:

I would strongly recommend investing in a scale, and a good set of measuring cups and spoons. I actually find it easier and faster to just put things on the scale instead of standing there staring at the food and trying to guesstimate how much there is. It doesn't help that I have vision issues, so "portion distortion" is quite a literal statement for me!

Hope this helps!

MEGAPEEJ Posts: 732
4/26/13 2:04 P

Check out this link, which compares serving sizes to common household items.

Also, try to use a scale and measuring tools as often as it IS available - it will train your eye to start seeing what 3 oz of chicken looks like, what 2 oz of dry pasta looks like, what a tbsp of olive oil looks like, etc. You may not know when you're out exactly how much your portion is, but you'll have a pretty good idea if it's twice as big as you eat at home.

SMARVYGAL SparkPoints: (1,461)
Fitness Minutes: (524)
Posts: 49
4/26/13 1:59 P

Hello --

I have a question -- I am really heavy and I have lost about 17 pounds -- 6 with sparkpeople. When I track my food I find it hard sometimes to estimate/calculate size of the food -- how can you guesstimate portion sizes if a scale is not available. Help -- I have realized my portions are huge but how do I know what serving size/portion is good??

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