Food

Healthy Snacking and Portion Control

I’m trying to eat better by scheduling a weekly meal plan and now that it’s warm enough to go outside I’ve been taking long walks around town. So if you follow me on Twitter I’ve been posting every time I complete a “workout.” I hope to eventually start jogging but I’m way too out of shape right now. I’ll get there though. 

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link and then make a purchase I’ll make a small commission at no cost to you. I use this money to pay back my mountain of student loan debt. For my full disclaimer, click here. I’m not a doctor or dietician or nutritionist. I’m just a regular person trying to be healthier. 

Josh’s work schedule has finally stabilized as 5am-2pm shifts. This means he takes his hour-long “lunch break” anywhere between 9 to 10am. So he has requested keeping more snacks around the house so he can get through to dinner which we usually eat between 6 to 7pm.

I usually don’t keep snacks in the house because we always aren’t very good at portion control and tend to eat the whole box/bag at once. If I buy fruits or vegetables we usually don’t eat them fast enough and they go bad which isn’t good either.

My mother-in-law just gave me a bunch of GreenBox storage containers specifically designed for keeping fruits and vegetables fresh so it’s worth a shot. With summer coming it will be easier to find cheap fruits that are actually in season so they should taste a whole lot better. My Walmart had baby carrots on sale so I bought two bags of them. I normally buy regular ones but I wasn’t in the mood for prepping regular carrots 

Healthy Snacking and Portion Control how to count calories and measure condimentsCounting Calories

It also seemed like a good idea to keep track of the amount of calories in my snacks. Just to help me have some perspective. I don’t normally count calories since I do a lot of cooking from scratch and it’s a lot harder to do. Josh and I do eat pretty large portions for our meals so any snacks we have need to be small. 

During college I bought the cheapest scale I could find at Walmart. Just a regular Mainstays kitchen scale that uses a spring instead of digital. I actually bought it so I could get an accurate shipping weight for selling my old textbooks online. I tried using it for calorie counting snacks but it wasn’t very accurate.

I recently bought a new scale (also for selling things online) and decided to go for a really nice digital one. Amazon rates this Accuteck All-In-One as a best seller so I figured I couldn’t go wrong with that. It is fantastic. You can change the units of measurement and it’s really easy to zero out the scale if you don’t want to record the weight of your storage container. 

Digital kitchen scales are worth the extra cost and are far superior

I also bought a couple boxes of crackers. I thought it would be easier if all of my snacks had the same calorie count. I decided to do “200 calories” snacks. But this is easier said than done. For example I bought a box of Ritz Garden Vegetable crackers. 16 grams (5 crackers) is 80 calories. So I had to figure out how many grams would equal 200 calories. Then I remembered some high school math and I felt very proud of myself. 

Calorie counting math. I knew high school math would come in handy someday.

Basically it’s just cross product fractions stuff. Anyway. I’ve outlined it in the image above. Pretty cool. So I was easily able to weigh out my 200 calorie portions and then feel really sad that it was just a handful of crackers. 

I’m trying to use less disposable plastics so I’m using plastic food storage containers for all of my snacks. They also will hardly need to be washed after use saving me even more. Since Josh and I eat lunch at home now we store far less leftovers than we use to so I can actually use my containers for snacks. 

Counting calories for snacking

I started labeling them before I decided to make them all 200 calories. I really want to snack on a huge pile of these right now but I know I’m not hungry, I just want to do the action of eating them. I need to just drink some water instead. Most feelings of hunger are actually that of thirst. So before you snack drink at least 8 ounces of water and wait 15 minutes. Then see if you’re still hungry. 

Condiments

While I was calorie counting it seemed like a good idea to see how many calories are in the condiments I love. I knew it wasn’t going to be good. The serving size for most condiments is 1 or 2 tablespoons. Since nobody is going to measure out a tablespoon of ketchup it’s easiest to use some condiment cups that you know the exact size of. I have these black ones that I definitely didn’t steal from my favorite restaurant in college. If I was to fill it completely to the top it would be 6 tablespoons. But just most of the way full is 4 tablespoons which I think is a reasonable amount of condiment. 

You can get a set of 12 stainless steel portion cups on Amazon for pretty cheap and they hold 5 tablespoons which makes them similar to the one you would get at a restaurant. 

Calorie counting for condiments

I measured it out with water which you can kind of see in the picture. I did the math for all of our favorite condiments so I could tape it to the fridge where we can see it. Think about it though. A couple scoops of peanut butter plus about 10 crackers is almost 600 calories. I wouldn’t think twice about eating that before and thinking I was quite healthy in doing so. Of course peanut butter is full of lots of good fats, but I would be better off combining it with some carrots or celery sticks. 

 

What are some of your favorite healthy snacks? Or regular snacks? Let me know in the comments. 

If you didn’t know I’m also obsessed with goldfish crackers. 

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