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Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Helping Myself Take Smaller Servings -- Better for My Health & Finances

This is an old dieter's trick, but it's also something I'm doing to save money on groceries. Serving myself portions in smaller containers.


I started this with coffee a while ago. I switched from the 12-oz mug on the left to the 8-oz cup on the right. I originally began this for health reasons. As it turns out, I'm also saving money. I drink far less coffee now that I'm using the smaller cup. Yes, I do get more refills in a day, but not enough to equal what I'd been drinking using a 12-oz mug. 


Another change for health reasons -- my morning yogurt. I'm lactose intolerant. Too much yogurt can be too much for me. I switched from a 6-oz custard cup (on the right) to a 4-oz canning container (on the left). I also now do this with pudding and ice cream. Smaller portions made simple. I'm eating slightly less, but not so much less that I feel deprived. 

Did you know that for many years in the USA a portion of ice cream was only a 1/2-cup or 4 ounces? It's been recently updated to reflect how much Americans actually consider a serving -- 2/3 cup. Meanwhile, commercial yogurt portions have been shrinking. Do you remember the days when individual portions of yogurt were sold in 8-oz containers? Then they went to 6 ounces, and most recently I've seen several 5-ounce containers of yogurt at the store. Using a 4-oz squat canning jar helps me portion my food better, whether it's ice cream, yogurt, pudding or anything else of which I should probably eat a smaller amount.


At lunch I've been choosing to use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate many days. This forces me to put less on my plate. So, if I'm having something like chips with soup or a sandwich, I automatically put fewer chips on my plate. I don't always use a salad plate, however. Sometimes I want to use the larger dinner plate so that I will eat more of something, like salad or fresh garden fruit or vegetables. But for the days that we are having some chips with lunch, we can get by with a smaller bag of chips by using smaller plates.

I'm doing something good for my health and saving money.


11 comments:

  1. I recently noticed that the serving size for ice cream went up to 2/3 cup. I always thought 1/2 cup was too small. Different than container size, they have been trying to match serving sizes closer to what people actually eat, so they will know better the calories they are consuming in a "normal" size portion. And ever decreasing container sizes with no decrease in price is a constant irritant of mine. But it is, what it is. Being aware in both instances is the key to smart consumption.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      I always thought 1/2 cup of ice cream was too small, too. :-)
      Shrinkflation -- there are so many products that now come in smaller packages but cost the same or more. Sugar used to come in 5-lb bags. Now I see them in 4-lbs. Mayo used to be a 32-oz jar, now 30-oz. You're right, being aware is the key to smart consumption.

      Have a great day, Live and Learn.

      Lili

      Delete
  2. Guilty as charged! This is something I really need to employ for myself and my husband. We both really enjoy cooking, making food for others and Eating! But for our health and finances, this is an excellent point! Thanks!

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    1. You're welcome, Linda.
      But I didn't mean this post to be any sort of condemnation for anyone else's choices, just what I'm doing for myself. I think food is supposed to bring enjoyment. It's really about balance -- enjoyment vs. health and finances. There's a balance to be found in there for each of us.

      Have a great day, Linda.

      Lili

      Delete
  3. Exactly what I'm trying to do these days for health and financial reasons, but not always successful. I love my morning coffee so find it extremely difficult to scale back. I want to limit my daily consumption to no more than 3 cups, yet I use a giant thermo mug. I know it's at least 24 oz and until recently drank more than one mug full. Now I let Keurig dispense only 12 oz at a time, plus another refill. I still use the same giant mug though. For snacks, like nuts, I fill a custard cup no more than about half full. I pretty much use this smallest size dish whenever I want to snack, and for me snack could be leftovers from breakfast like oatmeal or chow mein from lunch. I'm trying very hard to limit my sugar intake to 6 teaspoons a day, which is the recommended American Heart Association daily for women. A 6 oz serving of commercial yogurt has 12 t. So now, treats like ice cream, cakes and donuts are reserved for special occasions. We've given up alcohol as well, except some red wine on occasion. Instead we have substituted sparkling water, saving our health and money. We buy the cheapest brand, about .25 per serving, beer or wine is definitely more expensive than that.

    Have a wonderful Cinco de Mayo,
    Laura

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    Replies
    1. Hi Laura,
      It sounds like you're making a lot of improvements in your meals and snacks. Good job!

      If you want to eat commercial yogurt but still keep to the lower amount of added sugar for your day, one thing you can try is mixing the sweetened yogurt 1/2 and 1/2 with plain yogurt. I began doing this years ago, before I started making my own yogurt. I got used to the tangy flavor pretty quickly. Another option is to mix 1-2 teaspoons of jam into plain yogurt.

      Have a great day, Laura!

      Lili

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  4. I am reminded of some funny questions we're asked when we shop. At Costco, we were asked what do we do with a 50 lb bag of flour, as in, who buys that much flour? At Safeway when we bought the limit of 3 cases sparkling water, the stock clerk asked do we like that stuff? My husband said yes, our health and wallet does.

    Also, another way we are limiting intake and losing weight besides eating only 2 meals per day is fasting longer periods, at least over 12 hours everyday. That means we brush our teeth and call it a day around 1 or 2 pm, not even snacks after that hour. At first, I felt hungry in the early morning, but now I've adjusted. We read that fasting will help our bodies repair when less time and resources are needed for metabolic activity. Heard that it is even better to fast at least 72 hours, your body can do a lot more like repair immune function and kill cancer cells which is an ongoing challenge everyday. It makes sense from the standpoint of catalysts like enzymes and essential nutrients that if more is needed for metabolic activity which causes even more damage from free radicals and other waste byproducts the lower our capacity to repair and maintain.

    Laura

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  5. I know that trick well! I also use a salad plate at lunch, and I use smaller bowls for cereal/ice cream. I get confused when I visit my in-law's house, as their bowls are larger, and I'm never sure just how much I'm eating--but I don't sweat it for a few day's worth of meals.

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    1. Kris, this happens to me with coffee when I'm drinking some at someone else's house. I find I drink way more caffeinated stuff and start to get dizzy, when I don't have my familiar small cup. I'm like you, though. If it's treat foods and I'm at someone else's house, I consider it a "treat time" and don't worry about it too much. That's what special occasions are for.

      Have a great day, Kris!

      Lili

      Delete
  6. I've recently gone down to a smaller cup with my coffee, too. It saves money and calories from coffee as well as the half and half we put in it. We don't buy as much ice cream as much as we used to, so that is one way to save as well.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Nana,
      Oh yeah, I didn't even think of that aspect, but all of the extras that get added, such as sugar/cream to coffee. Or in the case of ice cream, I'm guessing if I had a larger bowl of ice cream, I'd add more topping like chocolate sauce, if we were having some. That's a good point.

      Have a great day!

      Lili

      Delete

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