Healthy Food vs. Portion Control

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Eat Your Colors on Portion Control Plates

Eat Your Colors on Portion Control Plates (Photo credit: cproppe)



Diets in the Workplace


Talk about “diets” in the workplace usually stirs one’s thoughts.  It can easily be a chain reaction.  Though numerous “diets” have been discussed in my workplace, the latest attempt is the South Beach Diet.


My carboholic tendencies had me fearing my ability to attempt the first phase of the South Beach Diet, however with not a single meal to be had, it was my intention to venture out to Kroger on my lunch to snag lunches for the week.  Before I left the office, I had decided I might mix a bit of Weight Watchers with South Beach Diet so I could have my Wasa crackers with sliced turkey, cheese, tomatoes and cucumbers.  Upon arriving at Kroger, I decided to nix the Wasa Crackers.  I can do it! Instead I substituted Romaine lettuce.


For lunch I had the following:


2 Romaine Lettuce Leafs, each filled with 1/2 slice of Havarti (not low or reduced fat) and 1/2 slice of Cheddar, 3 slices of Oven Baked Turkey Breast (packaged deli meat, not fresh deli), two thin slices of a Roma Tomato, two thin slices of cucumber and yellow mustard.


The mistake


  • #1: I did not have breakfast.
  • Instead of two lettuce wraps, I should have only had one.  I feared that one would not fill me satisfy me, but it did.
  • Instead of two 1/2 slices of cheese on each, I should have only had one 1/2 slice (on one).
  • To top it off, I had about 1/4 of mixed nuts, which is about 203 calories.
  • Overall, my lunch cost me about 650 calories.  Of my 1200 or so, that’s nearly 1/2 on 1 of 3-5 meals.


What I Should Have Done


  • If I had eaten breakfast (let’s say 2 hardboiled eggs), I would have 155 calories there.
  • For lunch, only one lettuce wrap with 1/2 slice of cheese (Havarti actually being the lesser), plus tomatoes and cucumbers, I would have 167 calories.
  • Divide the nuts into two snacks and I would have 2X101.5
  • For dinner, I had 1/2 cup of couscous, 12 small cooked shrimp, 1/2 cup of broccoli.  That’s only about 180 calories.
  • For a total of 705 calories, I still have 400 to play with.
  • That gives me room to enjoy a drink, a sweet snack or something else of my choosing.  400 calories is a lot to play with if you choose the right items.


Too Much of a Good Thing


What it boils down to is that if I had kept at the pace I was going based on my lunch, I would have eaten a lot more dinner and likely a lot more breakfast tomorrow.  It’s only day one and I‘m already catching the signs of eating too much of a good thing.  With a seemingly South Beach Diet friendly meal for lunch, the calories I consumed are far beyond what I should have.  It sure did FEEL healthy, though.


Portion Control


At the end of the day, I could eat a jillion “healthy” things and still rack up more calories than ever imagined.  For example, the mile-hile salads you can get at salad buffets such as Sweet Tomatoes or Lettuce Souprise You or even Golden Corral.  It’s not only about what you eat, but how much of it you eat.


Being “full” versus being satisfied are two totally different things.  Having multiple small meals throughout the day versus 3 full meals definitely helps me.


What Do You Mean You Ate a Single Cookie?


Most of all, I find that if you deprive yourself of all the things you love, you will eventually fail in your diet or your ventures to adapt a more healthy approach to eating (whichever you may call it).  If you track your calories and other nutrients as a whole, you will find yourself eating healthier foods and eventually your body will adapt to those trends.


When I followed Weight Watchers Flex Points plan, I found this to be true.  I could enjoy McDonald’s, but only at a cost.  An egg McMuffin cost me 7 of 21 points per day.  I could enjoy a children’s happy meal (at the time the fries portion was much larger) for about the same, but yet I did not want to waste my “points” these things as they did not “satisfy” me.  Instead I found alternatives.


Healthy Alternatives


Mixing up South Beach Diet with Weight Watchers may prove to reduce my weight as I’m drastically reducing the amount of carbs from breads, but I don’t want to completely eliminate them from my diet, personally.  Couscous for dinner tonight was a great alternative to having my lunch on bread.  I enjoyed it far more!


Finding Balance


It’s not just one “diet” or “meal plan” or regimen that I feel will get me to where I need to be, but at the end of the day, no matter what solution I find, portion control is the final factor.



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  • Cristina

    I’m usually on veggies and fish, the only problem I have is about “portion control” as you put it. I noticed that, the more I skipped on meals, the more I eat during dinner–not a good thing. Now I intend to eat always on time with less portion, I really hope that I could lose some weight or inches.

  • Donna Spears

    Been doing South Beach Diet as well. Actually it was the one who worked well for me.
    Skipping meals is not a good diet, and I agree to that. The more you skip your meals, that greater the chance that you won’t get the desired fitness you wanted. Meals are important, what you need is just a control to the foods you take, avoid what makes you fat and unhealthy and engage into a more healthy meals that won’t give you extra pounds.