Tips for Better Nutrition and Portion Control

Best Tips For Better Nutrition and Portion Control

Since we’ve moved into our house and I’ve started CrossFit, I’m trying to get better at focusing on nutrition and portion control. I’ve never had to worry about my weight, thankfully, but I do my fair share of over-indulging. I often find myself in the “just one more” camp, and a few hours later discover that I’ve eaten an entire dish of chocolate covered almonds (e.g. this past weekend). I also am the type of person to make great plans for meals, and then bail on them when I get home and realize that I actually have to make the recipe that I looked up which seemed so tasty online. I know I can’t be the only one in this camp.

In the past, I’ve spent a lot of time (and money, sheesh!) focusing on what is perceived as “healthy:” labels that say organic, whole wheat, protein-packed, natural, etc. I’m realizing now, that healthy is more about being well-balanced and recognizing when you’re full.

I’ve seen a few “healthy living bloggers” write about how they’re trying to add things in recently, instead of take things away.

A lot of times, I think people focus on taking away things when they try to transition into a healthier eating style. No more candy. No more junk food. No more sodas. No more gluten. Or whatever else. For those who are just transitioning or for those of us who have gotten off track, I think adding in healthy things is a great way to start.

Here’s what I’ve been adding to my diet:

  • Adding more fruit (when you want a snack/sweet, go for fruit!)
  • Adding more water
  • Veggie-tracking
  • Tentative meal plans

For example, since moving to the house, Sean and I have been adding fruit to breakfast every morning. It doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but I can notice that I feel fuller longer and that I’m satisfying my morning sweet tooth (I have  to have something sweet in the morning) early on. We usually split a cinnamon raisin bagel with butter and 3 eggs with a little cheese. Since moving, we decided to add in fruit. We split a banana (because I can’t eat a whole one without gagging), and I have a clementine while Sean has grapes.

Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast of hungry champions

I’m also power packing my lunch with fruit: grapes, another clementine, an apple, etc. Since I’m a vegetarian, I make sure to get a solid amount of protein for breakfast (eggs), morning snack (usually yogurt or edamame), lunch (edamame, black beans, white bean dip, etc.), and dinner. I allow myself treats during the day like a small handful of peanut M&Ms at work or a pudding after dinner. I’ve realized that healthy eating doesn’t have to be restrictive and expensive. I can have pudding for dessert that’s not (gasp!) organic or totally free of high fructose corn syrup. But, life’s too short not to enjoy your pudding, right? When I want more sweets or another handful of chocolate covered almonds, I’m trying to steer myself toward more fruit.

So, for me, a typical day of eating usually goes something like this:

Breakfast

  • 1.5 eggs with shredded cheese
  • 1/2 a bagel with butter
  • 1/2 a banana
  • 1 clementine
  • A few grapes (that I steal from Sean)

Morning Snack

  • 1 cup of coffee at work with French Vanilla creamer
  • 1 clementine
  • A handful of grapes
  • Greek or regular yogurt

Easy and Healthy Snack

Lunch

  • Black bean burger with cheese
  • Small salad/other veggie mix
  • White bean dip & carrots

Afternoon Snack

  • 1 large apple (sometimes with almond butter)
  • Handful of peanut M&Ms

Dinner

Dessert

  • Chocolate pudding cup

Another way I keep myself full and my mouth busy during the day is by drinking a LOT of water. I’ve found having a tumbler along with a Nalgene means I have no excuse not to be sipping H20 all day long. I have a 17-oz tumbler and a 32-oz Nalgene that I keep at my desk. The tumbler has a straw, so I can just put it in front of me and sip all morning while I’m writing and take it to meetings. The Nalgene is like a water stock that lets me fill up my tumbler whenever it’s empty so I can’t make en excuse that I have to stop working and leave my desk to get more water. I usually have to refill both by 12 or 1pm.

So I’m probably getting about 17 oz of water (or more if I do a morning workout) before I get to work, and then drink about 66 to 83 oz throughout the day. I’m getting about 100 oz a day. Sure, it means a lot of bathroom breaks, but that’s just another excuse to get moving instead of sitting at my desk all day!

I’ve also been trying to track my vegetables. This doesn’t involve anything crazy, just  trying to average a serving or fruit of veggies at every meal. I know you’re thinking, “You’re a vegetarian. Why are you tracking this?” Sean always wondered how a vegetarian could be unhealthy, but we’ve both experienced how it’s easy to fall into the junk food trap: cinnamon rolls, waffles, potato chips, french fries–all technically vegetarian. See what I mean?

I’ve just been generally counting up my veggies & fruits to make sure I’m not leaning closer to the bread-vegetarian instead of the veggie-vegetarian.

Lastly, I’ve been tentatively planning meals for the week. Usually before we go grocery shopping for the week, I find 3 recipes that I think we’d both like to try as “goal dinners” for the week. If we make those, awesome. If we end up making an old stand-by (enchilada mini pizzas, black bean burgers, frozen veggies, etc.) because it’s quicker and easier, then we’ll still eat, but at least we have the ingredients for healthy and yummy dinners ready to go. I find great meals and often modify them to be vegetarian (My go-to formula? Remove meat, add beans).

How do you keep your portions under control? What does “nutrition” mean to you?

 

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