As you know, I love to eat well and that means it has to be easy, nutritious, balanced and most of all appetizing and delicious. So this meal meets that criteria and I’m going to show you how I break it down in terms of basic nutrient balance.
Protein = Crab Cakes (2 small)
Carbohydrate = Pesto Pasta (1 cup cooked)
Veg/Fruit = Arugula & Grapefruit slices (@1/2 cup ea.)
Now I’m sure some of you see “pasta” and think, “the devil’s food.” But let’s remember portion size is as important as what types of food you’re eating. Imagine taking your car to the gas station and overfilling your tank until it was running down the side of your car and pooling in your shoes. This would be a bad thing, right? So don’t do the same thing to your body. Pasta does not need to be vilified, just eaten in an appropriate serving and probably not every day. The average restaurant’s entree of pasta is 6-8 servings. That’s an entire box of pasta! It’s important to read labels on food until you can get a good sense of what is a legitimate serving.
You might be thinking that one cup of pasta would be too small to fill you up or satisfy you. Well, that’s where the other nutrients come in to play. The protein and veg/fruit complete the meal. And Happy Fun Fact: the body absorbs nutrients better when all are present in combination than in individual servings. Translation: the crab is absorbed more effectively when eaten with the pasta than it would be if eaten by itself and you will feel more happy and satiated when you eat in balanced proportions.
I’m not a big fan of measuring and weighing my food and that is also entirely impractical if you’re out to eat in a social setting. So here’s a stealthy strategy: the palm of your hand excluding the fingers is about a serving size for your body size. I have relatively small hands; my boyfriend’s hands are three times mine. Obviously, he will require a higher quantity of calories and nutrients than I will. If you’re eating breakfast hold a handful of berries and take stock of the amount. Without getting out a measuring cup, you’ve just naturally selected the right amount of food for you. (For me that’s about 3 large strawberries or 8-10 good-sized blackberries.) And let’s be honest, we all know the fable of the monkey who gets its fist stuck in a jar because it’s so greedy that it won’t let go of some of the goodies in hand. So no giant fistfuls – just the size of your palm minus the fingers.
This technique also works when you’re out to eat. No need to cause a scene by getting the waiter to divide your meal up or to alert everyone at the table that you’re learning how to reset your portion instincts. Fake like you’re reaching for the salt and pepper and hold your palm over each element on your plate (meat, veg, carb) and then feel confident that you can eat the amount that is appropriate for your body. Ninety percent of the time, you’ll have enough food left over that you can have it for lunch tomorrow, also in the right amount.
We can take away the fear and replace it with nutrient balanced, properly portioned and economically feasible food based on confident, stress-free choices.
If you’d like the recipe for this dish, please let me know! (Psst, the Pesto sauce is from the Salmon Recipe I posted earlier; it keeps a week or two in the fridge and is great for so many quick dishes.)