Portion Control Made Easy: A Hands-on Approach [E13]

Portion Control Made Easy Podcast Cover
Tired of lugging around a kitchen scale in your purse? Sick of washing those silly containers you picked up for the 21-day fix? This episode is for you!

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Hey there, Tasha here. Welcome back. Now, you guys know that last week my book Keto: A Woman’s Guide and Cookbook was released. So it’s out there in the universe finally helping people get started and fine tune their efforts for the female body. And of course, you know, because I haven’t stopped talking about it, but I did want to ask just quickly for a minute of your time to head to Amazon and leave a review for me there. I read every single one I get. And it would be absolutely amazing to hear what your favorite part of the book is or what you’re most excited to learn about. These reviews also help me to spread the word by cueing Amazon to include my book in the search results. Your reviews are hands down, the biggest and best support for the success of my book release. So as much as I hate to ask for favors, this small gesture has a huge, huge impact for me. So big thank you to everyone who takes a minute to leave a quick review. I really do appreciate it.

Now, today, I want to talk about portion control, but this podcast is “easy Keto with Tasha,” not “drive yourself mad working towards perfection with Tasha.” So I’m going to focus on the easiest way to do portion control and measuring for Keto. No digital scales, although I do love them sometimes. No cups or spoons, no ridiculously expensive containers that you have to spend hours washing every week.

Can you guess what it is? I will give you a couple hints. You carry them with you everywhere you go. This is what you used to write. But it’s not a pen. One of these has five fingers and two of them have 10. Hashtag hand riddles. Yes. I’m talking about your hands and using them to portion your food out for Keto or otherwise. And I wanted to share this with you because I recently did a small group talk and I shared this tip for building easy Keto meals, using your hands as guides for portion control and measuring sizes. And people loved it. There was a great response. And when I see people have those light bulb moments like, “oh yeah, I get it, I can do this!” That’s the kind of stuff that I really love to share. Because we can all have a tendency to overcomplicate things with technology or get inside our own heads and bang around all these ideas about doing things precisely and exact. And if you’ve been listening to the show for a while now, you know this about me, that I am a recovering perfectionist. I used to do a lot of laboratory work and I was trained to be exacting in that kind of way. But that kind of attention to detail doesn’t really belong in the kitchen, especially *especially* if you’re struggling with your eating habits or trying to make big changes and improvements. The last thing you want is to add even more obstacles or stressors or get caught up in that endless loop of perfection where it’s never quite perfect.

So you’re never happy with it. Because it’s food, it’s fuel and it’s fun and delicious. And if you’re working towards improvement, you’re moving in the right direction, regardless of if it’s perfect or not. Because perfection doesn’t really exist. So I gave my little talk in my training and I was really happy with the feedback. Someone said, “I’ll definitely give this way of measuring a go. In the past, I found logging everything in my fitness pal so tedious that I end up losing interest after a few days.” And I totally get that. That really lit me up. Really, really, truly made me happy because I also find tracking every little bite and morsel in my fitness pal to be exhausting. OK. It’s just mentally exhausting for me and I am not much of a tracker. I gave it a try like a real legitimate try like multiple times throughout my life. I have tried this. But ultimately it’s not really my style. It’s just not for me. OK, so simplifying it and making this something more manageable, easier and a tool to use for where ever your nutrition journey takes you really made me happy. So I’m not a tracker. I’m a meal planner. I like to do the meal planning portion of things. I’m a planner through and through. And though I like to use apps for nutrition information and planning purposes.

I don’t love winging it and obsessing over everything I eat throughout the day. It’s just not something that feels good. So it was not only nice to get the feedback that it was manageable and more approachable. It’s just really nice to hear that other people prefer the low tech, more intuitive approach to Keto, OK? Especially when there’s diet labels like “Lazy Keto,” If you don’t track or “dirty Keto,” if you eat certain things. There’s such a ridiculous holier than thou vibe to some of these popular terms for ways of eating Keto that I don’t really support or believe in. I think they’re very silly and we shouldn’t label our food like that. So because there’s nothing lazy about trying to improve your eating habits. Right. But that is another rant for another day. So first off, I’m going to tell you the easiest way to build a Keto meal. And it’s really, really easy. So don’t even bother taking notes. Just hear me out on this one. Pick a protein, layer in carbs, and add fat as needed. Three easy steps. Pick a protein, carb, and fat is needed. Now the protein can be fish, meat, eggs, tofu, saitan, whatever protein rich source that fits within your preferences. And I start with protein because it’s the most important macro to prioritize in terms of including it in your diet for lean body mass support at every meal. Protein is the building block of your body and it should be the building block of your meals.

All right. So it also helps keep you full. So if you’re struggling with hunger, protein is a good thing for that. Now the carbs are your non-starchy veggies in this scenario, like leafy greens or other Keto, friendly vegetables. Like spinach, bok choy, collard greens, radishes and turnips are just a couple examples. And the fat is layered in as needed to align with your goals. Now, this can be your cooking oil, your dressing, your cream, if you do dairy. And of course, season as desired so it tastes extra delicious. That’s the easiest way to build a Keto meal. So you’re probably thinking, “OK, great, but how much?” And this is where the hands come in. Your protein portion is about the size of your palm and that will realistically give you about three to four ounces of a protein rich ingredient. Give or take. Right. The carbs, your non starchy veggies like the leafy greens, that’s going to be about two hands cupped together. And that will give you a good veggie portion for fiber, which doesn’t directly impact ketosis, micronutrients, phytonutrients and all the other good stuff that you get from vegetables. And your fat serving size will be your thumb, which works out to be right around a tablespoon. OK, so the volume of your thumb is roughly the volume of 1 to 2 tablespoons, give or take, and a teaspoon is more like a thumbnail area rather than the whole entire thumb.

So pick your palm sized protein. Layer in two cupped hands of non starchy veggies. Add a thumb of your fat of choice and seasoned as desired. It is so simple and that is a beautifully balanced Keto meal. And it didn’t take a lot of special tools or ingredients. It didn’t even require a recipe. Right? Simple, simple stuff. So let’s say you like chicken breast, broccoli raab, and olive oil. Throw it on a sheet pan with maybe some garlic, salt, pepper and red chili flakes and bake it. OK. Just a quick example. That’s a Keto meal. Your chicken breasts would be the palm of your hand. The broccoli raab to cupped hands. Tossed in a thumb of olive oil in season to taste. So easy. Or maybe you love fish like me, and you can grab a salmon fillet the size of your palm, two cupped hands full of bok choy, and coat it with a thumb of coconut oil. Season it to taste with ginger and soy sauce or coconut aminos. Then pop it in the air fryer, put it in the oven, or fry it up in the skillet. You get the idea, right. Maybe you’re a vegetarian and you can still use the simple formula as well. Okay, just pick your meatless protein, which could be animal-based, like eggs or cheese. Or something plant-based like black soy beans, tofu (the super firm kind is especially high in protein), or saitan.

That’s really high in protein as well. There’s options. Okay, then just layer in your remaining carbs and fat as needed. Season for a unique flavor and you are done. Cooking a Keto meal really can be that simple. I love teaching this kind of stuff, you guys. I’m actually working on developing a meal planning course for Keto. It’s a program for people who don’t love the tracking approach. Basically for people like me and the hands as measuring tools are one of my favorite approaches for this kind of thing. And it’s especially great for people who love the easy peasy and they don’t want to fuss with the scales on stuff. They’re just like, “That’s not going to work for me long term.” You know, changing your eating habits, doing all of this kind of stuff. It requires something that you’re going to be able to stick to. So if you can find something that works for you in the long run, like something that you feel like you’re going to do forever and you can do forever. That’s what it’s all about, OK. Plus, who doesn’t love using their hands for stuff, right? The beauty of this approach is that your hands really are personalized measuring devices. Right? Think about your hands compared to your kids or your partner. Larger hands require larger portions, while smaller hands require smaller portion sizes. It’s just a really fun, easy way to cook. So here’s the lowdown on the other measurements you can use for your hand.

And if you head over to my site Ketogasm dot com, you can actually pick up a free PDF of this for a cheat sheet to use as a reference in your own kitchen. So go to Ketogasm dot com and grab the show notes for episode 13 if you want to download this cheat sheet. One palm is about three to four ounces and you can use that for meat, fish. Poultry. Any high protein, protein rich ingredients. OK, a thumb is about one to two tablespoons and you’re going to want to use that for concentrated fats or oils. A thumbnail is about one teaspoon and that’s for concentrated fats and oils as well. A fist is about one cup and that’s best used for soups, casseroles, any kind of weird, wonky measurements that you might use volume with. Think one cup; a fist is one cup. Vegetables and fruits can also be measured this way. One cupped hand is about a half cup and that’s really perfect for using for nuts, seeds and dairy, while the two cupped hands like we talked about earlier is about one ounce. And that’s perfect for low carb veggies and low sugar fruits. Again, there’s a cheat sheet to download for this over at my website, if you’re interested. Head over to Ketogasm dot com. And I have this specific link in the show notes. Now, I really hope you guys find this to be as helpful as I have. I’ll see you next week.

Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of the Ketogasm podcast. You are awesome. I really hope the show’s added value to your Keto journey. Making big changes to your eating habits can be a little tricky, but if you’re taking the time to listen and learn about Keto, you’re well on your way. You got this. Be sure to visit Ketogasm dot com for the show notes with full transcripts, references and resources to help you out, including a totally free course called Hello Keto. It’s helped over seventy five thousand people start Keto with confidence. I’ll see you in the next episode. Bye!

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Hello, everyone! Welcome to our newest episode of Easy Keto with Tasha. Because I am all about making peoples’ lives and diets easier, today’s focus is on how to manage your portion control in the easiest way possible!

Keto: A Woman’s Guide & Cookbook

As you know, my newest book, Keto: A Woman’s Guide & Cookbook was released last week. It is now officially out in the universe! Overall, this has been an absolutely incredible journey! As a quick reminder, if you’ve already snagged your copy, don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon. Nothing too crazy; you could mention your favorite part or how the book has helped your diet.

Not only do I read every single one of these reviews (and I really do value ALL of your comments and feedback!), but they are also a major part in helping the book get more attention. I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important! Thank you to everyone who takes a minute to leave a quick review; I truly appreciate it!

Portion Control Made Easy

If there is one thing your diet does NOT need, it’s perfection. So, instead of focusing on perfection and adding more stress to your life, I hope to simplify it. And one of the quickest ways you can simplify your diet is through how you do your portion control.

The Easiest Tool For Portion Control

The key to easy portion control is not found on a digital scale. It’s not in overly specific storage containers either. There’s not a special set of cups or spoons that hold the secret to success. Surprisingly, the tool isn’t something that can be bought at all!

No. The tool that will create the easiest portion control possible is your own hands. You can use your own two hands to portion your food out both on keto and off!

Overcomplicating Is Unnecessary

We don’t always notice when we do it, but it is beyond easy to fall into the trap of overcomplication. As a recovering perfectionist, this was something I constantly battled. 

But let my own struggle with trying to perfect everything be proof when I say this: strict attention to detail does NOT belong in the kitchen. This is especially true if you are someone who struggles with your eating habits or are trying to make changes and improvements. The last thing you need to be doing is adding more obstacles, more stressors, and more reasons to convince yourself that it’s not good enough.

If you are working towards improvement, then you are moving in the right direction. It doesn’t matter if it’s “perfect” or not, you are already succeeding! Diet perfection doesn’t exist!

If you’re struggling, then it’s time to take a step back. Reevaluate what you are doing, and take notice of the things that are working for you. If there are things about your diet that are causing you stress and exhausting you mentally, then it’s time to replace it. 

Build A Keto Meal The Easy Way

When I say the easy way, I mean it. There are three steps in total.

First, pick a protein.
Second, layer in carbs.
Finally, add fat as needed.

That’s it! Fill in each step, and you have an endless variety of keto meals!

For your protein, you want to pick something that is rich in protein and that suits your needs. It could be fish, meat, eggs, tofu, seitan, or whatever you prefer. This is the first step because protein is the most important macro to prioritize in terms of including it in your diet for lean body mass support. Protein is the building block of your body and should be the building block of your meals as well.

For the carbs, you want to aim for non-starchy vegetables. This includes keto-friendly vegetables, such as leafy greens, spinach, bok choy, radishes, collard greens, and turnips.

Finally, fat is added in a way that aligns with your goals. The fat can be cooking oils, dressing, cream, or other sources that accentuate your dish. 

Then, season to make your meal delicious, and you’ve just built a complete keto meal!

Easy Portion Control for Keto

Now that you know how to build a keto meal, the easy portion control comes into play. That’s right, time to break out your hands!

Protein: Your protein portion should be close to the size of your palm. This will give you about 3-4 ounces of the protein-rich ingredient of your choice. 

Carbs: Your carb portion should be about two hands cupped together. This will ensure you’re getting a good amount of vegetables for fiber.

Fat: Your fat portion should be roughly the size of your thumb. This works out to be close to a tablespoon. For a smaller measurement, use your thumbnail area. This will equal about a teaspoon.

To reiterate: pick a palm-sized protein. Layer in two cupped hands worth of non-starchy vegetables. Add in a thumb (or thumbnail) of the fat of your choice. Season the food so it tastes great! And your meal is done.

Easy Keto Meal Examples

By following the simple guide for building a keto meal, you have endless possibilities! To spark your creativity, I’ve included a few sample meals.

  • Chicken breast, broccoli raab, and olive oil. Mix with garlic, salt, pepper, and red chili flakes. Bake on a sheet pan until done.
  • Salmon fillet, bok choy, and coconut oil. Season to taste with ginger and coconut aminos/soy sauce. Cook in the air fryer, skillet, or oven.

For vegetarians, you can just as easily pick your meatless protein. If you still consume animal-based products, or protein might be eggs or cheese. If you want something plant-based, you might opt for black soybeans, tofu (the more firm it is, the higher the protein), or seitan. Then, layer in your chosen carbs and fat, and you’re good to go! 

Meal Planning

Given how much I love teaching people how easy things like portion control can be, it’s only right that I let you know I’m currently in the process of creating a meal planning course for keto! It will be geared towards people who don’t do well with the tracking approach, much like myself. So if you were a fan of this easy portion control approach, I strongly suggest you keep your eyes peeled for future info on the course!

Easy Portion Control Using Your Hands

It is especially convenient to use your hands for quick and easy portion control. Plus, it is an incredibly personalized way to measure. Here are some other hand measurements you can use beyond creating a 3-step keto meal!

  • Palm (3-4 ounces): high protein ingredients
  • Thumb (1-2 tablespoons): concentrated fats or oils
  • Thumbnail (1 teaspoon): concentrated fats or oils
  • Fist (~1 cup): measurements that use volume, fruits, vegetables
  • Cupped hand (half cup): nuts, seeds, dairy
  • Two cupped hands (1 ounce): low carb veggies, low sugar fruits

Don’t forget to snap your free Helping Hands for Perfect Portions PDF. It’s perfect for keeping in the kitchen so you don’t forget your handy measurements!

Further Resources

Weight Loss vs Fat Loss: Are they the same? [E12]
Keto: A Woman’s Guide & Cookbook
Limiting Beliefs, Holding Yourself Back, & Self-Sabotage [E11]


0:00 – Keto: A Woman’s Guide & Cookbook
1:09 – Portion Control Made Easy
1:39 – The Easiest Tool For Portion Control
2:33 – Overcomplicating Is Unnecessary
5:47 – Build A Keto Meal The Easy Way
7:14 – Easy Portion Control for Keto
8:38 – Easy Keto Meal Examples
10:02 – Meal Planning
10:53 – Easy Portion Control Using Your Hands

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