Calorie counting. Do you dislike taking the time to count calories as much as I do? I am going to let you in on a little secret that works really well in our home. Portion control AND calorie counting can be done in one swift and easy move!
Have you ever noticed the little nutrition panel on the side or back of the package of food that you buy? There was a time when I never paid attention to it...most likely I knew it was there subconsciously, but didn't care. Then one day...I had two small children and my waistband was horribly uncomfortable! Oh dear... My Grandmother always told me that my eating habits would catch up with me one day and boy did they...with a vengeance! Gone are the days when I could eat a half of a cheesecake with no adverse affects. *Sigh*
For awhile, I did not care, I was ok with myself as I was for a time. Then one day someone said something within earshot that I don't think I was meant to hear and I decided to change very dramatically. Of course I went from one unhealthy extreme to another...that did not work out so well either. Later on I started taking a systematic approach to becoming healthy. Here are a few little ways that work in our home:
1. Do not ignore the nutrition panel. Stick with the serving size...yes, count every little piece or get out the measuring cups.
2. Sandwich baggies. If you have 20 minutes just put it all into baggies right away and then throw out the box. Only eat ONE baggie or serving size at a time. This is key. Do NOT grab a whole handful of baggies for a snack...remember, the baggie holds one serving size...only eat one serving size in a sitting.
3. Use calorie counting and portion control as an educational tool. Children develop habits, good or bad when they are young. Train them to adhere to the serving size when they are young and they won't have so many problems when they are older (like me). Let them help do the counting and measuring.
4. Cook at home and cook from scratch! Avoid pre-packaged food and eating out whenever possible. Have you every tried making your own french fries instead of dumping them on a pan from a store bought bag? How about homemade chicken nuggets from fresh chicken? Give it a try! It is healthier and tastier!
5. Choose fruits and veggies over chips and candy. Fruit is not hard to count the calories at all. Here is a FREE and helpful online tool:
Just click on the "Nutrition Facts" and type your fruit or veggie into the search box. Example, if grapes are on sale at the grocery store, you can divide them up into 1 1/2 cup servings (into baggies or containers) and that is about 90 calories a serving. You can do the same thing with carrots, broccoli, melon...whatever you enjoy eating, to keep the calorie counting in order.
6. What about things like yogurt or cottage cheese? Here again, I would suggest getting a load of small containers and putting the serving sizes into each. This way, you will not be tempted to take more than the serving size, you can buy in bulk and it is also friendlier to the environment with reusable small containers rather than purchasing individual serving sizes.
7. Cheese. I love to overload recipes with a horrendous amount of cheese. I really need to stop doing this. Instead, cutting back on the cheese will help eliminate the calories. If you are concerned about taste, try becoming more familiar with spices and other ways to flavor such as garlic and onion!
8. Meat. Meat is a calorie buster...especially a cheeseburger. In fact, the cheeseburger was the hardest thing for me to give up when we started eating Kosher. We still eat meat on occasion and I have to force myself to only eat a small portion. A piece of meat the size of a deck of cards is all you need...your taste buds may say differently (mine do), but just tell them it is enough (over and over and over...) Another option is to try making your own veggie burgers. I will have that recipe coming up soon on one of my Scrumptious Sundays!
9. Dessert. I love dessert. I really love dessert. Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting is a favorite of mine. There are a few options to try and control the crave... a) split the dessert with someone you love and make it romantic while eating fewer calories. b) Try making desserts that substitute zucchini or applesauce in place of other unhealthy items (see my Healthy Strawberry Bread Recipe). c) If dessert is a must...why not choose something healthy? Such as cut fruit or yogurt with a few nuts and raisins? Just a thought...we do this often.
10. Pray. Self-Control is a spiritual fruit. It says so in Galatians 5:22-23. Pray for self control not only where eating is concerned, but in every other area of life as well. Yeshua will lead and guide you starting right where you are at if you will let Him!