Thursday, October 9, 2008

Holiday Portions

Portion control, that’s what so much of calorie counting is all about. During the next three months, the challenge for many of us will be to keep our portions under control, especially when it comes to those luscious cakes and pies that we or others will be baking and bringing to parties and family gatherings. That’s why I like cupcakes and cookies. When it comes to cutting slices of cake or pie, or even scooping out servings of cobblers and crisps, our eyes are sometimes bigger than our stomachs, as my parents used to say. Of course, it’s not that we can’t eat that much, it’s that we shouldn’t. While a typical layer cake is intended to be sliced into about 12 servings, sometimes we end up cutting larger slices and getting only about 8 or 10 out of it.

If you’ve decided to bake a cake for an upcoming Halloween party, why not make cupcakes instead? The same amount of batter for a 2 layer cake will make 24 cupcakes. Since cupcakes aren’t filled and iced like a layer cake, you save calories on frosting as well. They’re also a lot of fun to decorate, are easier for children to handle, and they can be frozen for later if you have any left and don’t want all of them sitting around. The Betty Crocker website, has Halloween ideas for cupcakes along with the nutrition information for their recipes.

Cookies are also great for keeping portions under control as long as you don’t eat more than a recommended serving amount, usually 1 or 2, and make them all about the same size. This is also wise for getting evenly baked cookies. So if you have a recipe that says you’re supposed to get 24 cookies out of it, try to make sure you do. As you portion out the dough to get that recommended amount, you may also see a much smaller cookie than you had expected. That’s OK. You’ll at least know what to expect from that recipe next time and you’ll know exactly how many calories you’re getting every time you take a bite! Hey, holidays are meant to be enjoyed and food is part of that. But you don't want to associate them with over-indulgence and end up dreading them each year.

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