I had a request from manhattan on The Daily Plate to post pictures of weight VS. volume of Cheerios. Being the weight listed is the true serving size for the calories listed, labels can be a little misleading. First I did the comparison with Cheerios and the result was exact for both the 1 cup serving and 28g; both measured ways came to the top of the measuring cup. The same with 2 Kashi cereals that I tried. Which is nice to know.
Then I measured Cascadian Farm Clifford Crunch cereal:
The 1 cup/30g serving when weighed inside the measuring cup didn’t quite fill it; it was about actually about 7/8th of a cup. As you can see in the picture, the 1 cup (level) serving is bigger than than 30g weight measurement. Not the greatest picture for comparison, it’s a subtle difference, but subtle differences add up pretty quickly. I imagine there was at least 10-20 calories more in the measuring cup portion than in the actual weighed portion.
Then I weighed 56g whole wheat pasta:
The serving size is 3/4 cup (2oz/56g). There was still quite a bit of space left in the cup when it reached 56g, probably enough room for about 30 extra calories in pasta. Again, subtle difference, but 10 or 20 calories here and there can add up to about 200 or 300 or MORE extra in a day without even realizing it.
This is why I use my food scale for just about everything, it’s so easy to overestimate a portion. However, I refuse to drive myself crazy with every little thing. I know bread, cookies, Luna bars, etc. weight is often a few grams more than the serving size and I’m willing to let that slide. I can’t be bothered cutting 2g of bread off of a slice or chucking a crumb of a cookie because it’s slightly over the portion’s weight lol. I use my food scale for 90% of what I eat; fruit, veggies, pasta, cereal, milk, cheese, nuts, salad dressings, frozen yogurt, etc. etc. but most pre-made foods I just “trust” their pre-portioned sizes and allow for margin of error, which my “rounded up” calories usually pick the slack up from. And like I have said before, I’m ok with being 100 calories over or under my target for the day. Counting calories consumed and burned is nearly impossible to do with 100% accuracy, you just have to use the best tools, like a food scale, available to you and not drive yourself crazy with every little kcal.
Even I might be a little obsessive with calorie counting; I weigh my lettuce, onions, mustard, etc. almost all the time. I’ve found my food scale to be very helpful and very eyeopening. I depend on it greatly, but I don’t let it consume me. I like counting calories, it’s “fun” to me, like a hobby. But I also keep a balance between staying accountable and staying sane lol. This is also another reason why “free days” help keep me grounded. A day (or 14 days lol) off from counting calories every so often feels good. You sort of get to vent for the day and then start the mission all over again. My way of taking a breather.
So, anyway, I stepped on the scale this morning and I’m already back to the weight I was the first day we left Atlanta for NY. YAY! Now, I just have about 3.5 lbs to go before I get to the weight I was the day we first arrived in NY lol. That time off was priceless to me and I don’t regret one moment of it, even though I gained weight from it. I’m back in the saddle just like I knew I would be and it feels great to have that control over my eating and lifestyle. A lot of people have a hard time getting back on track and a lot of “diet programs” frown upon breaks, but like I’ve said before, those programs and those people do not trust the dieters enough to believe they can successfully pick up where they left off. I find that to be insulting when someone says: “You should NEVER (insert taboo diet thing here)!” Too many rules and restrictions, blah. This is why it took me 26 years to lose weight in a way that I could keep up with forever. It all started with shunning conventional wisdom and trusting in my own instincts.
I treat my Sunday exercise very casually. I was supposed to do 60 mins of cardio, but I ended up doing about 30 minutes of intense cardio, plus about 10 mins of strength training. Hey, I’m still recuperating from moving injuries, I need to take it easy! hehe
After my cardio I drank my breakfast, which I usually don’t do, but I’m glad I decided to because it was SOO GOOD! I’ve been craving a smoothie/shake for sometime now and this hit the spot:
Before I hopped on my elliptical I made this and then put it in the fridge so it was ready when I was done. I used: ½ cup Stonyfield Farm plain fat free yogurt (55 cal), 1 cup Almond Breeze unsweetened vanilla almond milk (40 cal), 1 medium banana (110 cal), 1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder (20 cal), 4 TBSP PB2 powdered peanut butter (108 cal), 6 or 7 ice cubes, and less than 1 teaspoon Stevia “supplement” (sweetener). Ooooh, it was YUMMY! It made just over 2 cups and tasted like very thick chocolate milk with PB and banana or a very thin milkshake. I didn’t think liquid would fill me up, but it did and I loved it. I think I am going to have this more often after my workouts. I can make it ahead of time and slurp it up when I’m ready. It settled a bit by the time I went to drink it, so I put it back on the blender for a few seconds to blend it again. For only 333 calories, this was packed with protein, carbs and very low in fat. Perfect after a nice, sweaty workout. When I feel like spending the calories I’d probably add a bit more PB to it. Maybe real peanut butter next time. Hmm… so many possibilities!!
Sundays don’t feel the same in our household without a nice pasta or Italian dish; Baked Ziti was the lunch of choice:
Made with: 1 oz brown rice pasta (110 cal), 2 plum tomatoes, diced (30 cal), 30g red onions (15 cal), 3/4 cup Birds Eye mixed summer squash (20 cal), 1.5 oz Price Chopper low fat mozzarella cheese (90 cal), 2 TBSP Price Chopper fat free ricotta (50 cal), and 1 TBSP Pecorino Romano cheese (30 cal).
I’m lovin’ that brown rice pasta, it’s so good! I started by boiling the pasta and cooking the veggies in a nonstick frying pan with just a bit of water. When the pasta was done, I added it into the pan with the veggies and stirred in the ricotta and half of the mozzarella cheese. Then I transplanted it to my single serving oven dish and topped it with the rest of the low fat mozzarella and pecorino romano cheese. For only 335 calories, this was a fantastic, warm lunch. It felt sort of naked without my usual salad to go along with it, but I didn’t want to spend too many calories before dinner.
I missed out on salad with my Baked Ziti but I made up for it BIG TIME with dinner. This has to be the most colorful and beautiful salads I have ever created:
I was trying to recreate my own version of Chili’s Quesadilla Explosion salad, which runs upwards of 1300 calories!! When I was there not so long ago, I just LOVED it and had to try to make a lighter version of it. Well, mine wasn’t an exact match but it was pretty close and less than HALF of the calories and fat! WOO HOO!
I didn’t realize it until it was too late, but my Spring Mix lettuce had a LOT of beet greens in it and it wasn’t the greatest flavor to go with the flavors I had going on in the salad. It would have been a lot better with just romaine or butterhead lettuce, but it was still WONDERFUL! Even the homemade dressing was awesome!!
I started by making a bed of 84g Spring Mix lettuces (15 cal) on my faithful salad platter. Then I began piling the mounds of goodies on it: 2 plum tomatoes, diced (30 cal), 30g red onions, diced (15 cal), 1 corn tortilla (65 cal) that I baked into small strips,
2 oz Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded (120 cal), ¼ (62g) cup no salt added pinto beans (55 cal), ¼ cup Del Monte no salt added corn (30 cal), 118g before cook, skinless chicken breast (130 cal), and 24g fresh Haas avocado (40 cal).
I made the dressing beforehand and let it chill in the fridge for a few hours:
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar (10 cal)
¼ cup (56g) Stonyfield Farm plain nonfat yogurt (30 cal)
14g reduced fat blue cheese crumbles (40 cal)
¼ oz sun dried tomatoes (20 cal)
1 tablespoon lesser sodium teriyaki sauce (20 cal)
Herbs, spices, dash of hot sauce (5 cal)
*Salt (optional, I didn’t add any)
- Blend until smooth, chill for 1-3 hours before eating.
I added everything into the blender, then added in: dried dill, garlic powder, a pinch of cumin, Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil, and just a drop or 2 of Frank’s Red Hot sauce. I had my doubts being I’ve never made this dressing before and I didn’t know what to make, so I just winged it and it came out REALLY good!! Especially for being low fat. Yogurt is an excellent base for creamy dressings. YUM!
When I was just about done building the monumental salad, I took 1 La Tortilla Factory small low carb wrap (50 cal) and put 1 oz Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar cheese on one half and melted it in a nonstick frying pan without any added cooking spray/oil. When the cheese was halfway melted, I folded it to make it into a quesadilla. Then I served it cut in half on the side of my salad, just like Chili’s does. I even put my dressing on the side, restaurant-style, like they do LOL.
It was SO BIG! OMG I don’t even know how long it took me to eat, it was a LOT of chewing! LOL But only 735 calories and loaded with veggies, protein and overall DELICIOUSNESS! I don’t think I could ever get sick of salads. They are just incredible. And when made with healthier ingredients, you can recreate just about any restaurant favorite. With so little calories for such a large meal, I’m sure that even 1200-1500 calorie dieters could squeeze this in somewhere! Maybe even cut it in half of eat half for lunch, half for dinner? I couldn’t do that. I had to eat it all in one sitting LOL. I’m anxious to try it again with a plainer lettuce and maybe change the dressing a bit. I have a lot of experimenting to do! *giggles*
I don’t have my menu planned for tomorrow yet, I’ve been slacking on doing them ahead of time. I’ve been doing them first thing in the morning, but as soon as I get a chance I’m going to do a week’s worth. So much fun!
½ cup Stonyfield Farm plain fat free yogurt
1 cup Almond Breeze unsweetened almond milk
1 medium banana
1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
4 TBSP PB2 powdered peanut butter
Baked Ziti: 1 oz brown rice pasta
2 plum tomatoes
30g red onions
3/4 cup Birds Eye mixed summer squash
1.5 oz Price Chopper low fat mozzarella cheese
2 TBSP Price Chopper fat free ricotta
1 TBSP Pecorino Romano cheese
Quesadilla salad: 3 cups (84g) Mixed lettuce
2 plum tomatoes, diced
30g red onions
1 corn tortilla, baked into chips
2 oz Cabot 75% reduced fat cheese, shredded
¼ (62g) cup no salt added pinto beans
¼ cup Del Monte no salt added corn
118g before cook, skinless chicken breast
24g fresh Haas avocado Quesadilla: 1 small La Tortilla Factory low carb
1 oz Cabot 75% reduced fat cheese Homemade Dressing: 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
¼ cup (56g) Stonyfield Farm plain nonfat yogurt
14g reduced fat blue cheese crumbles
¼ oz sun dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon lesser sodium teriyaki sauce
Herbs, spices, dash of hot sauce
Sandwich: 1 slice Alvarado St. flax seed bread
2oz Sara Lee reduced sodium turkey
12g Haas avocado
½ tablespoon (6g) Hellmann’s Canola mayo
1 teaspoon spicy mustard
½ cup arugula
1 plum tomato
14g Snyder’s unsalted mini pretzels
1 Late July Vanilla Bean cookie