Once upon a time I, only occasionally, read the recommended serving/portion sizes per person on food labels. Admittedly it was never the most riveting read, but I felt I’d done my ‘duty’ by paying brief attention to the nutritional advice on offer.
Special K breakfast cereal has a recommended serving of 35 grams; do you know what 35 grams of Special K looks like? I can tell you – not much!
Yes, in dark and distant days long since passed, I used to eat Special K cereal and yes, I even embarked on their Drop a Jeans Size in Two Weeks Challenge- I got hungry and gave up after about three days.
That is probably the only time I actually measured out a recommended portion size before April 2009, when I finally took responsibility for what, and how much, I was putting in my mouth.
I’ll never forget the fierce brightness of that ‘realisation lightbulb’ when I started weighing the things I was going to eat; no wonder I kept piling on the pounds (especially over Christmas time) I was probably eating at least three times the number of calories I should have been, even to maintain a consistent weight!
I had NO clue what 100 grams of chicken actually looked like, or anything else for that matter. Since then I’ve become a master of being able to gauge the portion size and weight of the various things I eat with, almost, deadly accuracy and I know this how? Because I’m still rather partial to throwing things on the scales to see if I’ve guessed right – like I said yesterday, I’m a numbers girl.
Now I appreciate the thought of weighing food on a daily basis isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but if you want to really take charge of your body composition, lose weight, lose body fat and/or increase your muscle mass then you’ve got two choices:
1) keep guessing, cross your fingers and hope you’re getting it right – let me know how that works out for you or,
2) take charge and get down and dirty with some basic maths in the kitchen
You all know how the body composition equation goes, at its most basic:
More calories in than out = weight gain – Fewer calories in than out = weight loss
Knowing that is all well and good but you need to know how many calories to ‘put in’ and what it all actually LOOKS like when it’s out of the bags, packets and boxes.
If it helps, look at it this way – you wouldn’t bake a cake and NOT weigh out all the ingredients, only half-heartedly follow the carefully formulated, tried and tested recipe and expect it to turn out exactly the way it looks in the book would you!
No – you weigh the ingredients, follow the mixing instructions, oven temperature and baking times and get good results. You’re getting my point, right?
So about those 30 grams of nuts…
Having worked out the theoretical nut numbers yesterday, I HAD to find out what each actually looked like in real terms so, this afternoon, I went out and bought a bag each of walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios and fired up my rather ‘intelligent’ scales.
I love my clever scales; they were sent to me to review, last year, and they will tell you the nutritional breakdown of the food you’ve placed on them. Want to know the calorie, protein, carb’, sugar, salt and fibre content in a certain grammage of something? Enter the food code and, TA-DAAAA, more numbers pop up than a numbers girl could ever wish for
I counted out how many of each nut variety made up 30 grams and then took a picture so you can see for yourself what it all looks like, along with all the nutritional numbers just to get you in the mathematical mood!
So there you go!
Now you know what 30 grams of walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios looks like.
Now you know about each of their nutritional components and how many calories you get for your nut!
NOW you know that whilst nuts can help burn fat, are a good source of healthy fat, oils and antixodants (in the right quantity), you can see how lethal they’ll be for your waistline in larger quantities – and there you were happy, and content, believing that eating nuts by the bucket load was okay; sorry.
I learned my nutritional nut lesson the hard way – I LOVE them, remember – so after my nut research had been concluded, I wasn’t going to take ANY chances…