Sunday, 27 January 2013

5:2 diet: Cutting down portion sizes

It is, of course, not just what you eat on a fast day but how much you eat of it. 500 calories a day (or 600 if you’re a lucky male) is not a lot so every calorie counts.

Surprisingly one of the easiest ways to do that is to cut down on the recommended portion size on ready-made products. The manufacturers of big 600ml tubs of soup, for example, assume you’re going to divide the pot between you. In fact you can divide it into three - 200ml is quite enough for a bowlful, especially if you add a splash of water to thin it out. (Most ready-made soups, I find, are too thick and gloopy*)

40g of porridge oats clocks up 138 calories. Reduce that to 30g - and allow yourself a teaspoon of cinnamon sugar which at least makes it palatable - and you’ve only used up 123.

The recommended 75g helping of rice (190g cooked weight) amounts to a scary 260 calories. Weigh out 50g of cooked rice - enough to bulk out a meal - and it’s an affordable 56.

Of course it doesn’t work with everything. 20g of cheese - hardly worth having which is why I rarely bother with it on fast days - is still ridiculously calorific but you get the point . . .

*While on the subject of soup - watch out for the sugar content. Sugar in soup? Absolutely. I was perplexed as to why Waitrose own brand soups were so much more calorific than the Tideford soups that my local health food shop stocks. (Their tomato, red pepper and lentil soup, for example, is only 52 calories for 200g.) The answer seems to be that most contain sugar.


cumbrian said...

Yes, almost impossible to buy tinned things without sugar, it turns up in the most un-expected places.

Anonymous said...

And not forgetting 'Garlic powder' which I find unpleasant and repeatable after eating is in everything, WHY?

Fiona Beckett said...

And dried basil. Horrid!

Anonymous said...

This was a really helpful post, thank you :)