Tag Archives: dining out

Small Portions, Big Results?

I love food. I love making food, smelling food, eating food…as I wrote in a job application letter two years ago, “I like food so much I’ve been forced to start exercising.” (And for the record, I got offered the job, though I turned it down in favor of my current position.) When I was a kid, my mom would get frustrated because I’d keep asking her what was for, not the next meal, but a meal three or four meals ahead of the meal we’d just eaten. For me, this has meant that the biggest problem I had to address was portion control.

Like many people, I don’t pay much attention to what the label says is a “serving size.” To me, a serving size is the amount of food I’m going to eat. In the case of Boursin (180mg sodium per serving), that means calculating the content of the entire cheese round, because you know, if I’m being honest, the thing isn’t going to last the day. There’s no point lying to myself about what I’m eating.

So portion control has been the biggest question mark in my daily #lowsodium plan. One place where portion control can either be made or broken is when eating out at restaurants. (One day, I’ll do a post about just what a pain in the ass a low sodium diet is when considered at the same time as a social life.) Today, I had an unexpected dinner with a friend of mine, which happened after an unexpected cupcake with a friend of mine. Which happened after a completely expected Boursin splurge. So delicious and so worth it, and so putting me over my 1500mg for the day. (However, I’d like to point out that due to all the other healthy choices I make in a day, my full intake is probably still below 2500mg, which is FAR below the daily average I was probably taking in before I started aiming to eat a low-to-no sodium diet all the time.

The nice thing was, I was able to try plenty of different tastes without over-indulging, because first my friends and I split two cupcakes between three of us, and then my friend and I split two simple plates at a tapas place. While each individual item would likely have put me well over the daily recommended intake of sodium for someone without high blood pressure (2400mg/day), splitting the items and not worrying too much about being hungry afterwards meant that I could enjoy small bits of food.

The thing I keep reminding myself is that at the end of the day, I want to know what lots of things taste like, and that’s part of why I like food so much. But once I’ve tasted something, it’s enough – I can relax and not worry too much about finishing all of it that’s left on the plate. This makes for a more social and relaxed mealtime, healthier snacking after I get home (if I’m hungry, which at the moment, I’m not) and overall far less food being taken in.

Oh – and of course I’m also following up by drinking plenty of water, as (for me) that seems to help keep my system flushed out.