Self Control: How to Keep Dessert Portions Under Control

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I have a sweet tooth and love dessert more than most of my family members, and certainly more than my boyfriend. He is content with a slice of cheese after dinner whereas I tend to gravitate towards a wedge of chocolate. I think both are fine as long as they're in relative moderation, which can be a struggle. But when it comes to dessert portions, all it takes is a little pre-planning to portion like a pro!

In my mind, dessert is meant to signify that the meal is over. Whether that's a small bowl of fresh fruit or a scoop of ice cream, it needn't be gigantic to satisfy. Here are a few tips to help keep desserts small, special, and appreciated:

After-Dinner Portion Control:

  1. Pre-Portion Your Servings: Even if it's just you and your partner, spend the extra time slicing all 8 pieces of pie. I know some folks who take this one step further and actually put each slice in its own airtight container. I find that just pre-slicing my pie, brownies or bars prevents me from cutting off little bits to snack on in the afternoon. 
  2. The Freezer is Your Friend: Don't be afraid to freeze leftover dessert! We do this so often with savory dishes like casseroles, meats, and sauces but it's just as useful with a big batch of cookies. While quite nice, sometimes it's not the best idea to have a batch of 32 cookies around the house unless you have a sizable family. I happen to live with just my boyfriend, so we're in the practice of tossing things in the freezer to avoid over-indulging. 
  3. Wait At Least One Hour: I've started to do this on a tip from my grandmother last summer. Instead of clearing the dinner dishes and setting out dessert right away, come back to it. If you give yourself some time to digest your dinner and break up the act of sitting and eating, you're more likely to be able to enjoy your dessert more fully. 
  4. Slow Down: A very special dessert can disappear all too quickly if you don't allow enough time to appreciate it. We're often told this while eating dinner and it applies here, too. 
  5. Make New Friends: Our neighborhood baristas often give us free coffee. Why? Because we often bring them sweets. Bringing leftover desserts to neighbors or folks who work in the neighborhood is a great way to avoid over-eating. And who knows? You could make a few new friends while you're at it. 

(Images: Megan Gordon)

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