Portioning in a Portion-Less Environment

There’s a Kiwi Frozen Yogurt shop within a block from the place where I’m working. I’ve heard a lot of people saying good things about this pay-by-weight dessert destination, so I decided to check it out.

Inside the store with the friendly-looking pastel sign is a cafeteria-style set-up for making your own frozen yogurt sundae. I grabbed a cup and marveled at the wall of frozen yogurt machines–so many options! And all sounded delicious. I went with Sea Salt Caramel Pretzel, topped with a tablespoon or two of Heath crunch and a bit of broken pretzel (to keep the sweet/salty taste going, of course!). On the quantity of fro yo itself? I guesstimate it was about a cup. For frozen yogurt and toppings, my sundae clocked in at 5.2 oz. (For comparison, a box of Breyer’s light vanilla ice cream tells me that a 1/2 cup serving weighs 67 grams, or about 2.4 oz.)

Kiwi ended up being a great training ground for self-control and portion control. Fortunately it’s a fairly non-threatening training ground, as the dessert is easily more skinny than most ice cream flavors: from their Web site; for a half-cup serving, calorie counts range from 70 (no-sugar added raspberry) to 140 (creamy peanut butter, red velvet cake and white chocolate mousse). Of the 51 flavors in rotation on the site, only 9 had fat, ranging from 1 to 3.5 grams. Toppings range from fresh fruit (kiwi, pineapple, raspberry) to things like mini caramel cups and cookie dough chunks.

The real challenge comes with how much frozen yogurt you’re serving yourself, and how judicious you are about your topping selections (but of course, there’s always the option of passing on toppings altogether). I think I did a good job of giving myself a treat without going overboard. When I go back in the future, I think I’ll try one of the lighter yogurts with fruit to be even more healthy.

Aside from battling emotional eating demons, unregulated portion control is probably one of the most challenging things someone comes to learn on a weight loss journey. (And when those two conditions come together at the same time, watch out!) You get lulled into compliance by food scales and measuring cups and spoons, but what happens when you’re on your own? How do you make appropriate portions in a portion-less environment? It takes practice, honesty, and a separation of emotions from the transaction. In other words, a stint on Weight Watchers or most other diet programs provides you with the tools you need when you’re ready to take off the training wheels, if you trust yourself. That’s an encouraging thought.

How have you handled serving food without the aid of measuring devices? What’s your advice for not going overboard?


2 thoughts on “Portioning in a Portion-Less Environment

  1. I went to a froyo place the other day, and struggled with this. I noticed at the one near me they only have one size bowl – which is huge size. So when you start to pour in the froyo, anything smaller than the container looks proportionately too small. I think that’s why we then add more than we should, and end up with a bigger portion than we should. The big container/small looking froyo is an eye trick (and not to mention a way for those froyo places to get more $$). I haven’t figured out a trick for this yet, aside from stopping at a portion that looks too small, but is probably accurate to what portion I really should be eating.

    Sea salt caramel pretzel sounds so good, though! I had sour apple dairy-free sorbet. Not as exciting, but kept me out of trouble 🙂

    • Sour apple sounds good! I’d try that.

      The place I went to only had one size container as well–a gigantic one. My completed serving did look puny in the cup, but like you said anything more would’ve been too much food and too much money. The set-up of the shop is both a blessing and a curse…

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