When I think of dieting, I instantly think of small, tiny portions and deprivation. And when someone tells me that 6 almonds is 1 serving size, I think to myself, is this a joke? Only 6 almonds? I’m going to starve! Luckily, a healthy weight loss plan incorporates eating frequently and combining the right foods to really feel full and satisfied. So how can we further optimize our food choices and get more bang for our buck? Let’s take a look at the “volumetrics” of our food choices and see how to increase the volume without increasing that waistline.

#1.  Choose a plain greek yogurt and add your own fruit versus eating a flavored yogurt with fruit on the bottom already mixed in. The fresh fruit will give you fiber and provide the natural sweetness to flavor that plain yogurt. See the examples below.


6 oz Yogurt (Fruit on the bottom)   OR 6 oz Plain Greek Yogurt+¾ cup


(130 calories)                                        (150 calories)

Freebies: 1 Milk; 1 Sugar                    Freebies: 0.5 Milk; 1.6 Meat; 1 Fruit

#2. Choose a high fiber tortilla, such as Sonoma Carb Cutting Tortillas from La Tortilla Factory or Low Carb High Fiber Tortillas from La Tortilla Factory versus a plain flour tortilla. The fiber in the tortilla not only helps us feel fuller for a longer period of time, but it also slows down the absorption of the carbohydrates which gives us more bang for our buck. (You can now eat 3 high-fiber tortillas when compared to 1 regular tortilla!)

1 regular 6-inch flour tortilla             1 7-inch low-carb/high fiber tortilla

Freebies: 1 Grain/Starch(G&S)      Freebies: 0.2 G&S; 0.7 Meat; 0.4 Fat

#3. Choose fresh fruit as often as possible when compared with dried fruit or add your own fresh fruit to a cereal versus buying a cereal with dried fruit already in it. For example: 1 serving of dried blueberries is 2 tablespoons versus 1 serving of fresh blueberries is ¾ cup. See the difference in portion size!

#4. Eat it versus drink it! Eating your protein versus drinking your protein can be a lot more satisfying and filling. On average, protein shakes provide you with about 3 servings of meat. A shake doesn’t always fill you up. However, you can get that same amount of protein from eating 3 oz of meat. Instead of having that post-workout shake, try a tortilla wrap with 3 oz of turkey. It’s a great way to fill up while fueling up.

#5. Eat whole foods versus eating energy bars. You can eat more food for less calories when you choose whole foods such as cheese, fruit, vegetables, or hummus when compared to eating an energy bar. Take a look:


Energy Bar = ~250 calories         2 string cheese + apple = ~180 calories

Freebies: 1.3 Sugar; 1 G&S;       Freebies: 2 Meat; 1 Fruit

1 Meat; 0.9 Fat

So remember: there are always ways to increase the volume while not increasing the pounds. Life is all about optimizing your choices and getting the most bang for your buck.

Sarah Koszyk, MA, RD, is a nutrition coach at Eating Free who cooks with love and loves to eat.

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