My Story: Portion Control

contributed by Jeanette

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We all like to save money and how many of us have more time than we need? Also, we are constantly seeing articles about how Americans need better portion control. Well, I have found a way to achieve all three almost effortlessly.

I have 10-year-old and 13-year-old boys and a hungry husband at home. They don't have a weight problem even though they are usually big eaters. I have noticed though that they like to fill up on the main course, not the less expensive sides. I also came to realize that I never could predict just how hungry they were going to be. After a week of having too many leftovers to conveniently use, I would cook a smaller meal and then they would be ravenously hungry and I would be scrambling to find food to fill them. How do I keep food costs down, fill hungry guys without stuffing them with potatoes and rice, and save work for me?

My solution is that I still make the same amount of food but in different sized pans. For instance, when I am making a casserole that calls for a 9x13 pan, I put it in two 8x8 pans.

When dinner is served, I only put one 8x8 pan on the table with the side dishes. I only produce the other pan if everything else is gone. Often, everyone is full and we don't cut into the second dish. Now it can be popped in the freezer and used for another dinner. Before, it seemed the other half of the 9x13 pan would succumb to "just a little bit more because it tastes so good!"

I guess the visual perception with a 9x13 is that there is a lot of food and the main dish is so tasty, so they just want more and more. However, if the casserole dish is empty, they seem satisfied with filling up on everything else.

Because they are growing active boys and my husband has a very physical job, sometimes they really are just that hungry so I like to be able to have more substantial food ready.

This way, it is a "win-win-win" situation. I don't do extra work (except dividing between pans and how hard is that?). Without making my family "do without," I save money. And I often have another casserole for the freezer to serve another time.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it by

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