Portion Control vs Calorie Counting

I am trying to get back on the wagon and start eating better again.  I am just having a tough time going back because I am so burnt out on mainly side dishes.  I am a oddity though that I love vegetables, the only problem is that I am tired of the same old same.  I tried looking up some healthy recipes for sides but just couldn't find anything I like.

I guess I am looking for some ideas of where to find some sides.  Also can you get by eating less healthy options in correct portions to gain some taste and variety vs sacrificing some appeal to opt for lower calorie.

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  • I struggled with this for a long time.  I do not follow the "paleo" diet do the T by any means, but I do try to base a lot of my meals off of that diet.  I try to eat more healthy fats, meats, veggies, and eliminate sugar/refined carbs as much as possible.  I am still losing about 1 lb a week, and I feel like I eat more food than when I was gaining weight.  I have a wife and two daughters to please with meals ( I do the majority of cooking) and have found many healthy variations of sides/meals by searching for paleo recipes that they enjoy.  What vegetables do you like/dislike? 

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  • To be honest there is nothing within the normal that I don't like.  I am just tired of steamed broccoli and cauliflower and kale and greens.  I love all of that stuff but just the same with steak if you eat it everyday you will get tired of it.  I will look into the paleo diet for ideas.  I just really get caught up in the whole low calorie can't taste good deal.  My problem is I love to cook and eat.  So have you sort of picked up different program ideas that meets your needs to accomplish your goals?

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  • Hi David, have you tried roasting vegetables in the oven? You mentioned you only steaming, so roasting is a great way to add a variety of flavor, plus it's easy. My favorite is roasted broccoli. Toss it in some olive oil, a little bit of salt, pepper and garlic, and you have tasty broccoli! Also, sweet potatoes are Paleo friendly and are filled with so many more nutrients than russet potatoes. I'm on a kick right now of making mashed sweet potatoes and topping them with balsamic vinegar instead of a gravy or sauce. I made it for my father-in-law last night (who is very picky) and he absolutely loved them. 

    It's ok to add a little bit of healthy fats to your vegetables to vary the flavors. Vitamins A, D, E, and K need fats to absorb into our system. Just make sure you can still taste the vegetable and it's not coated in cheese & butter ;) 

    In the meantime, Pinterest can be a great resource, as girly as that sounds. Just search for 'healthy sides' 'paleo meals', terms like that and you should get some inspiration. 

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  • David, I love to cook and eat as well.  As far as the calorie counting, I concentrate more on what the food is vs. how many calories.  Like Kimberly mentioned, I do a lot with sweet potatoes now, and have recently started using acorn squash.  Where I step outside of the paleo diet is with the legumes: peas, beans, etc..  I just did the WA recipe for meatloaf (although I made it into a single loaf) and had mashed sweet potatoes.  It was awesome.  If you like a little coconut flavor, try using coconut oil to sauté asparagus, or zucchini.  Again, I am fairly new to this myself.  So we can keep this convo going as we continue to experiment.  Let me know what you find!

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  • Kimberly, Tom thank you both for your input.  I like the ideas for the sides and have seen some things I would like to try already.  Tom you finally answered the question that I never asked and that is about basically the diet.  After doing some looking and talking to some folks I believe my best bet is to float somewhere between the Paleo and Zone Diets.  I can eat most foods that I like this way as long as they are good quality and in moderation.  

    I guess the question that I should have asked all along is this.  Is it better to consume high quality foods( more rounded protein, carbs, fat) in moderation rather than watch every calorie that goes on the plate and fret over than that.

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  • That's what I try to do, I try to eat high quality foods, and I don't worry about the calories.  I have also cut the portion size so I do not eat until "full".  Granted, I am not a nutrition expert by any means.  But... I tried the "calorie skimping" in the past and lost weight, but was constantly miserable with hunger, and eventually gave in to temptation.  Since I have been doing this plan, I feel better, I am almost to my optimum weight goal, and I don't get hungry from the starving like the past.   

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  • Consuming higher quality foods without worrying about calories is less stressful for sure and a great way to live life. You want healthy eating to be a natural part of who you are, not something you worry about constantly. Just keep in mind that regardless of the type of fat, it still has 9 calories per gram, so moderation and portion control is key! It sounds like Tom has the right mindset, so keep up the good work! 

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  • I am the son of a butcher so not vegan - that said we get vegan meals from greenchef.com and it changed the way I think about vegan eating - great combinations - spices and roasting them makes the difference - just a thought

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