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. 

300 Calorie Splash

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. 

Portion Distortion, measure your food!

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.

Portion Distortion, measure your food

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.

Portion Distortion, only a SPLASH of cream

Portion Distortion, just a SPLASH of Cream in my CUP

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.



15 thoughts on “Just a SPLASH of cream!

  1. Pam says:

    I am 2 months out from gastric sleeve. I have been using a lot of the recipes and they are delish. I have been weighing my portions 2-3 oz. Are this maintenance or weight loss recipes?

  2. Chris Bell says:

    Great tips for both newbies and the long timers. After awhile we can get desencitized to size because of all the portion distortion around us.
    Not all food measuring is done in our kitchen; some as we grocery shop, some when we eat away from home.

    The hand is a perfect tool for estimating.
    1. The palm of the hand (no fingers) is equal to 3-4 oz of any type of meat. For thin fish it would be the size of a checkbook .
    2. A balled fist is about 1 cup.
    3. The Thumb is about 1 oz of block cheese or a Tablespoon.
    4. The thumb nail is about a teaspoon
    When at home, you can check your measurements out because people’s hands will vary,

    Information on what a serving size is can be found at
    Example – a serving of grains is 1 oz. but it varies signicantly from 1 cup of corn flakes, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 of a Small bagel, 1/2 cup of bulgur wheat in Tabouli, 1 slice of Sprout bread.

  3. Rosita says:

    I am amazed at these articles how some really play out my life. I had my surgery in 2002 and I have managed great until my husband died in 2012 then my dad died EXACTLY one year later. I am on a very dangerous slippery slope but going up and up. I have used every excuse in the book to explain away my weight gain of 30 lbs. These articles about the added carbs and added creamers and grazing OMG this is my life. I can’t afford to gain any weight I’m a diabetic who WAS on shots 2xday plus meds by mouth. I’m not on meds any more since my surgery but at this rate if I don’t get control I’m terrified of what will happen. I am thankful that I rediscovered this site, I hope to stay with it this time and gain strength and knowledge to get myself back on track…I don’t want that miserable life again. This is some really helpful information that can inspire me and get me back on track. Thank You all very much. Ordered some great products too can’t wait to get them.

  4. Dawn Perkins says:

    I started buying Mini Moo’s from Amazon, so I know exactly how much half/half I am using. It says each one is 10 calories. Good on oatmeal too.

  5. Melissa says:

    I use just a splash of sugar free cream in my mocha or tea but when I say splash I mean just that I started off measuring it, serving size 1tbsp but I only use 1/2tsp I tried the serving size and for me it was to much so I dumped it out. My question is does this make it any better for me?

    • Alison Garcia says:

      Measuring your additions to coffee or tea is important. As a former “creamer dumper”, I know that I was consuming far more calories, carbs, and sugar than I would guess. If you found that less than the serving size works better for you, then by all means, use less to taste.

  6. Danelle says:

    I love this and lpve your style of writing! I’ve been sleeved all of 4 days but have found this site to be very helpful and informative. I used to put regular cream in my coffee, and I prob used 1/4 cup each time. Crazy how many calories are in that….

  7. Mary says:

    What a great post Susan! I am 9 yrs post ray and am struggling to lose a huge regain. I use coffee with creamer and Splenda as my “ sweet fix” and in reading your article, realize I definitely over use creamer! I must rethink my coffee breaks minus all the cream and Splenda too! It is so easy to just be in denial as far as portion control! Thank you again you are helping so many! Blessings to you!

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