Cordon Blue chef, syndicated columnist, best-selling author of Low-Carb Meals in Minutes (and eleven other books) and national television guest are just a few of the things that show Linda Gassenheimer knows food.
With The Portion Plan she wants to show you "how to eat the foods you love and still lose weight." Instead of denying yourself the foods you love by cutting them completely from your life she wants you to learn to control your portions sizes. This is not the same as serving sizes; which she explains in the intro.
I wasn't surprised to read that our food portions "have ballooned." We have all experienced this in restaurants and fast food joints where we eagerly agree to super-sizing. Linda brings up a valid point though, "we still clean our plates, just as we were told to do when we were children," instead of stopping when we're full.
This 187 page, glossy, heavy card stock book is full of pictures. Linda starts things off by getting you to test yourself with a "fun-to-do quiz" on which portion is better for you. It immediately gives you a visual reference to work with.
The Portion Plan is designed to show you what to choose and what to avoid at a glance by using a simple plate geography (similar to that used in Jorge Cruise's books). A color photo filled with food divided into portions of 1/4 meat, 1/4 pasta/bread, 1/2 veggies gives you a visual representation of what your plate should look like.
Linda discusses the ideal meal plan, which we've heard before, as three balanced meals and two snacks a day. She also recommends two cups of fruit a day, four cups uncooked veggie a day and using veggies as an alternative to pasta or rice. The important thing and what I'm sure everyone wants to hear is that snacks and desserts are still part of the plan. Except you can only enjoy them in 1oz portions.
Linda leads the reader through each food group: meat and poultry, dish and shellfish, dairy, vegetables and fruit, grains, sweet treats, drinks and snacks. Throughout the book are symbols to help you determine portion sizes of different foods by using your palm, hand, cupped hand, cupped hands, fist, thumb or finger.
There are also tips for reducing fat intake like mixing some of the real thing with other ingredients i.e. 1/2 tbsp mayo with 1/2 tbsp nonfat yogurt. Or using low fat buttermilk when making mashed potatoes. Or the two finger dessert reference when eating out.
At the end there is a seven day eating plan, including recipes, to bring it all together. They were good recipes but in my opinion included the addition of way more oil than necessary increasing the fat content to 8-20g per meal. The Portion Plan closes with a directory of foods and two pages of internet resources on various health and nutritional sites throughout the U.S. Canada and the U.K.
I think it's important to look at this book as a lifestyle change and not the next weight loss scheme on the market. Obviously this method still requires a considerable amount of self control on the part of the eater so this is no magic nugget to weight loss. It's a quick easy read and is a good reference for visual learners to include in your food library. Food portions are important. As I mentioned previously, there is only a week's worth of recipes and they are quite high in fat so while they are good examples of portions I think you could do better by reducing the amount of oil in the recipe. Linda Gassenheimer makes a good effort at showing it's ok to make brownies and eat them too (just not the whole pan).
Purchase the Portion Plan from Amazon.com.
Purchase the Portion Plan from Amazon.ca.