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There is the never ending debate over the SPLASH of cream some of us use in our coffee. I have weaned myself off flavored creamers, half & half, Splenda, Truvia… after all these years, I’m down to just COFFEE with a SPLASH of milk. It’s about as low cal as you can go.
In our last article we tossed around various weights and measures to describe ideal portions – four ounce portions of salmon, six inch plates, 1/2 cup salad, 2 tablespoons salad dressing, 1/4 cup ricotta, one ounce of almonds? It’s been a long time since I’ve been in school, the metric system confused the heck outta me, and I am not the best at judging how much is in a cup. A lot of people do not know the glass measuring cup is for liquids and is different from the metal one that measures dry volumes. We will help you. No worries.
Get ready to measure
I have assembled my kitchen measuring tools to show you how I do this. Nothing in this photo is expensive. Even the digital scale is a $5 clearance find at TJMaxx. These are the perfect bariatric tools for measuring. You don’t have to measure forever… once you get the hang of it… you can guestimate.
How much IS one cup?
Don’t adjust your screen, my kitchen is orange. Using my Pyrex glass measuring cup – which is used to measure liquids – I poured 1 cup = 8 ounces of Diet Ocean Spray Cranberry into three different kitchen glasses. I had no idea 1 cup was so little! It’s less than half a glass. Who pours themselves half a glass of something to drink?
When you blend your scoop of Inspire Protein Powder into 1 cup of milk, almond milk or water, make sure you measure the 1 cup (or I like to use a little less and add more if I want to) or it could easily taste too watery.
Ditto for our amazing YUM! No Sugar Added Hot Chocolate mix. The instruction say to blend 2 tablespoons with 1 cup hot water for perfect hot cocoa. Too much water and your cocoa won’t taste rich and chocolatey! Our oversized YUM! Mug holds 2 cups.
Just a Splash
I measured 1 TABLESPOON of milk into Ty’s morning mug and it didn’t even cover the bottom. 2 tablespoons was still not enough. When I measured out Ty’s ‘splash’ it was 1/3 cup, which is 5 tablespoons! He only uses 1% milk but some of you use Half & Half or *gasp* Cream and are drinking more calories than you realize. If you pour in a big shot of Half & Half at Starbucks, it’s probably more than a Splash. One tablespoon is NOT a lot. Here is another example of ‘someone’ being unaware of volumes: Ty’s giant morning Mug of Coffee holds 3 cups. Yet last week he told the Dr. he only drank one cup of coffee every morning. Ummm… maybe one mug but not one cup. Make sure you know how much you are eating and drinking.
Ice Cream Scoops?
Metal ice cream scoops come in different sizes and offer the perfect way to portion. They cost about $5 at my grocery store and I bought one each week until I had a set! The larger one is 1/4 cup and the middle size is 1 tablespoon. (4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup) On your small plate, portion 1/4 cup ricotta, 1 tablespoon of tomato salsa, drizzle with aged balsamic and sprinkle with sea salt and a few grinds of pepper for a tasty and bariatric friendly breakfast, snack, lunch or supper!
Cheese N Crackers
I use my 1 teaspoon scoop to add the perfect amount of horseradish cheese to a cucumber cracker. Three little crackers on a tiny plate is beautiful, filling, and delicious! This is the way to eat after bariatric surgery. No need to go back to how we got here!
The Undisputed King of Cheeses?
Why that is Parmesan! Some of you ask me if you can use the stuff in the green can for Chicken Crust Pizza. The answer is Nooooooooo! Freshly grated Parmesan is the best flavor deal on earth. You’ll hear angels sing when you taste it on top of a meatball. Use a Microplane and this fluffy pile of flavor is just one ounce… yet it overfills 1/2 cup dry measuring cup and is only 100 calories. When you see one of my recipes that appears to be cheesy, I am using freshly grated cheese and just 1 or 2 ounces is a big pile! MICROPLANE.
Just a few Almonds
My $5 Taylor digital scale is super useful. I can use it to weigh 1 ounce of almonds to eat as-is or put them in my white porcelain ramekin and toast them in my microwave for 90 seconds – toss with sea salt and smoked paprika. Almonds are super healthy and tasty and you get a lot of them in 1 ounce to nibble while watching TV. I use the scale to weigh a portion of shrimp, or deli turkey, or leftover salmon for my salad. Protein first followed by vegetables pretty much takes care of portion size, but its a good idea to know what is on your plate. Especially if you are fighting a regain battle.
This has nothing to do with measuring but I thought I would show you the expensive high tech device I use to tenderize and even out the thickness of my chicken cutlets. Chicken is dry because you have one THICK end and one THIN end. I pan sautè chicken tenders but first I flatten them. Place one tender between two 1 quart freezer bags and gently whack it with this piece of wood from Home Depot until it is an even 1/4 inch thickness. Makes the most tender and juicy pan sautéed chicken paillard (that French for flattened chicken tender). Season and cook it for 60 seconds per side in a teaspoon of olive oil heated to HIGH in a non stick skillet. Put it on a plate and sizzle a little salsa or white wine to spoon on top. 🙂 yum.
Post op life is good… however it’s better if you don’t go sideways, fly off the rails, gain back 70 pounds and then have to fight back each step of the way over 10 months to lose it again. This regain maneuver may just be one of those lessons in life you have to go through in order to learn, but either way you’ll find that these tips for measuring are a huge help.