Monday, May 3, 2010

The Trials of Portion Control

All the diets out there will tell you: if you want to lose weight, you have to control your portions. Granted, it also tends to have something to do with eating more broccoli than bacon and some form of exercise.

Portion control can be tricky though. Other than the fact that food just tastes good and you want more of it, sometimes the food industry does not do you any favors. Case in point: tonight's meal. I decided to make Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo. Check out the size of this single chicken breast:

That's ONE chicken breast. If you're trying to keep track of your calorie intake, this hefty chicken breast would probably count as 2-3 portions. It sort of disturbs me that chicken breasts have become this huge; I can't imagine how gigantic these chickens are.

Then there's aesthetics. With a bowl this big, doesn't it just look like you should, you know, just fill it with ice cream?

It's hard to resist eating more than you know you should. So, if you want to convince yourself that just one is enough, you have to make it look good, and taste like enough.

Introducing, the highly adaptable, filling and freezable,

Homemade Granola Bars
 adapted from a recipe by Aliceyn Fokuhl
 3 cups quick cooking oats
14 oz can condensed milk
2 tbsp butter
  1/2cup coconut
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup crisp rice cereal

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sweetened condensed milk, butter, coconut, pecans, chocolate chips, cranberries and crisp rice cereal with your hands until well blended. Press flat into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, depending on how crunchy you want them. Lightly browned just around the edges will give you moist, chewy bars. Let cool for 5 minutes, cut into rectangular bars then let cool completely before serving. 
Notes: The original author's notes on this basically state that when she makes these, she uses 3 cups of oats, and then "3-4 cups of whatever," which is a pretty good guide for how versatile this is. I really like the addition of crisp rice to lighten up the bars, and make them a bit less dense. After you cut the bars and let them cool, wrap each bar individually in saran wrap, and throw the extras in the freezer. It's a great breakfast or snack.

Try these and you won't regret it!


  1. Are these chewy or crunchy. I like crunchy.

  2. They are in fact chewy. If you like crunchy, I'd advise increasing the crisp rice, spreading it out a little thinner into a larger pan, and cooking it a bit longer. If these were crunchy, you definitely need to thin them out a bit, or you might break a tooth!