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How do people portion size at home?

Another thread is interesting in that the subject of portion sizes in restaurants are too little, too big, too... There are those that want large for doggie seconds, those that like smaller, those restos that load it up and those that vertically integrate to give the impression of more tha there.

Jfood wonders how people handle the same situation at home. jfood is very much into portion control in the every day dinner plans. Rare are there leftovers (except for roasts) and at times jfood uses a scale to guide the family in understanding what "correct" portion sizes look like.

Granted jfood is lucky that there are great grocers on the way home from the office so buying is a daily event, so he does not need to plan the week and buy everything on Sundays.

But he is curious if people double-cook so two meals can be made at once? Do people plan for leftovers and then have pot-lucks one night? Just curious how others handle the weekly dinner plans?

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  1. jfood - i expect there will be as wide a range of answers here as there were in the related thread on restaurant portions. I'm a single person, but I like to cook, and I like my own cooking. That means I will often cook enough for more than one meal, especially if it is something like spagetti or chili or stew... etc. Even baking a potato for one is kinda silly. They are not quite as good zapped the next day in the micro, but still a treat.

    The big problem with cooking a double or more amount is that through some mysterious process, often the second portion has disappeased by the next meal time. The mystery deepens as there is a direct correlation between the disappearing food and the ever increasing erroroneous reading on my bathroom scale.

    1 Reply
    1. re: KaimukiMan

      haha, true. Portions and I don't get along. The bf and I experiment in the kitchen and sadly, our meals haven't been any less expensive than if we had just gone out to eat. But that could also be because a recipe designed for 4-6 basically turns into a big dinner for 2. In the end, we're paying the same amount just go get fatter.

    2. I make everything in cook in large portions. Part of it is a hold over from my days cooking in restaurants, and part of it is that all the recipes I learned from my mom are "family sized."

      What I do know is mentally figure out how many portions are in each dish, and stick to that when I serve it. I'm doing Weight Watchers, and it's much better for me to think "this dish is 6 servings" then to just dig and hope there's leftovers.

      2 Replies
      1. re: manraysky

        Weight Watchers does give one a totally different perspective on portions, doesn't it? I, too, will make my usual big batch of pasta, knowing that it makes 8 servings (not the previously thought 4!). I also plate our food and bring it to us (me and my SO) instead of bringing out the food in serving dishes to the table.

        I also use a kitchen scale or judge by eye (deck of cards = meat portion, domino = cheese portion).

        1. re: dustchick

          Me too - smaller portions since WW, measuring out my rice and pasta servings. you should have heard my husband the first week when he saw his cup of pasta with 1/2 cup of sauce! lol - he was used to eating 2-3 times as much before!

      2. You know what.... If I have made something that both DH and I love the taste of - there just is no accounting for portion size/control. Although we do try to be high minded about such things, if we /he/me want seconds.... it happens. Don't do it too often, or at least try not to, but ...
        well, you know. Stuff happens.

        1. Too funny, we must both suffer from the same OCD's. In addition to my computer generated shopping list, I also use a scale to portion out my food. I have a Salter that tells you tons of info if you want it. I tend to just make sure my piece of meat/chicken is 3-4 ounces, fish is 5 or so ounces, etc. I also measure my pasta/grains/potato. My husband usually is given a larger piece than I take for myself, he actually NEEDS the extra calories (hate him sometimes :-). Veggies I don't measure and fill up on according to how hungry I am.

          I usually don't "plan" for leftovers since dh is not a big fan of leftovers for dinner. The only meals I intentionally make extra of are homemade pastas, lasagne, tomato sauce, crab cakes, anything that freezes well or is labor intensive. If I make something and there is enough leftover for 1, it usually becomes someone's lunch, if it is enough for 2 it is frozen and used a couple weeks later for dinner.

          As far as planning our dinners, I loosely plan out our meals on Sunday night. On Sat I usually have gone to the farmers market and plan some things aorund the fresh produce when available (not too much longer now). Then I tend to shop on Monday for proteins and basics. Since we eat out a lot over the weekend by Mon all we have left are leftovers from the crazy portions the restaurants have given us. Yes, I know that is for another thread!

          I never used to plan menus, but since I somewhat recently had a baby, I don't have as much time to stop at the market daily and peruse menus before cooking dinner as I used to, I find it is working quite well to plan ahead.

          1. To actually answer your question, jfood, here's what I do....
            I plan on paper a week's menues for dinner only. It's based on what I have on hand in the fridge and freezer. Pantry items stay put and are used to either augment or become the main ingredient. Once at the market, I choose whatever looks good/the least expensive/able to vaguely agree with my plans. There is a lot of maneuvering involved but that's what I like to do..... make the produce dictate the meal - but have an end result in mind.

            Since there's only two of us - I suppose there's more leeway than most families have available to them.