Saturday, May 21, 2011

Guest Post: A dieting plan that I like (when I'm following it)

A dieting plan that I like (when I'm following it)

From the guest poster of most of the recent guest posts

I found out about volumetrics on accident doing a google search for an assignment for another class. Volumetrics is the brainchild of Dr. Barbara Rolls, a nutrition professor at Penn State. The principles are simple. Some foods have a higher/lower energy density than others. The more low density choices one makes, generally lower in calories and the more one can eat. So the premise is no 'forbidden' food. The problem I've had with a lot of dieting is that simply I like to eat nice size portions. Giving myself a tiny wedge doesn't really work.
There are a lot tricks in volumetrics books I've picked up and applied when not dieting. One prominent trick used through this plan is adding a bit of veggies here and there to higher density foods. This lowers the overall food density and I find it also make food look far more visually appealing too. Take for instance I often have rice and/or pasta with Shabbat meals. Now plan pasta and rice aren't that exciting and adding a thick sauce is generally adding calories. But what if one takes that rice and pasta and dressing it up with some green pepper, a tomato, onions and garlic? Or shredded carrots or cabbage, I'll take a handful and add it. All of a sudden that boring pasta dish looks much more appealing, except now it's a veggie rich pasta dish. I'm not really having a serving of pasta, I'm now having veggies with some pasta. This idea works with cholent, though I'll just add a just handful of veggies to the crockpot so not to distort idea of cholent of we know it. For the most part I've greatly reduced my own consumption of a lot of carbs (still have a few favorites) but for when I'm making a meal for others, this also is a good way of making more of what's on hand lighter and healthier.
What I've found most impressive in the books is the picture comparisons of foods with the same calorie values. The cover of one book shows a little cookie compared with a nice sundae with fresh strawberries, light cream topping, and chocolate sauce and a garnish of nuts. For the same calories, most would find the sundae to be more appealing dessert. Another picture shows pancakes with a pat of butter. Another with pancakes generously topped with fresh mixed berries. A classic chicken salad is modified with halved grapes. I could see adding bits of mandarin oranges too.
The biggest disadvantages of volumetrics is time and costs. It takes more time to chop up veggies and fruit. They have to be bought more frequently too. I'll get bags of shredded cabbage, carrots and frozen veggies to easily stretch and add a handful of this and that. I can buy rice and pasta mixes and they are shelf stable for months but produce is just something that perishable so more planning is needed. And let's face it, fresh veggies and fruit often cost more. I'll buy from the produce stands nearby and not from the grocery store, but still the fresh produce is more expensive. But overall, I think I found some useful strategies in volumetrics.

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