Ah, soul warming, scrumptious soup! As you assemble the vegetables, lovingly caramelize the aromatics, add herbs and spices to a delicious stock, add enhancements and maybe emulsify, it’s likely you’re thinking more about the final tastes than worrying about meal weights. For those on a structured food plan like BLE, it is useful to have a solid strategy for weighing mixed category dishes like soups, stews, casseroles, etc. Here are 5 strategies for weighing these types of dishes for the BLE food plan.
Many Bright Line Eaters simply don’t cook dishes that allow the food categories to get all mixed up (soups, stews, etc) and keep their food separate and simple. There is peace to be gained by doing this. Others, (myself included) are able to cook and eat mixed category dishes with minimal mental chatter. If you want to keep soups, stews, casseroles, and other such meals in your repertoire, here are some strategies that I use to make it work.
As always, do what brings you the most peace with your food.
Strategy #1: Weigh ingredients, divide soup into number of meals
This is what I do most of the time. I will make sure the right amounts of veggies, protein, fat, etc. are going into the soup, and then after broth and condiments I won’t worry about the weight anymore, and I’ll portion it into the number of meals I know it contains. For example, if I want to make 3 servings, I will measure out 18 oz of beans, 18 oz of cooked veggies, and 3 oz of coconut milk, make the soup, add the broth and condiments, and then just divide the finished soup equally among 3 large pyrex containers or quart sized jars. With this method I don’t care about the final weight of a serving of soup, because I know the ratios are right.
Strategy #2: Eat your total meal weight
Eat the total weight of your meal instead of weighing each category separately. For example, if my food plan calls for 6 oz veggies, 6 oz beans, and 0.5 oz oil for lunch, I might weigh out 12.5 oz of veggie bean chili for my meal.
Strategy #3: Add a small, fixed amount to the raw weight
I often weigh my veggies before cooking a mixed-category dish and add 1 oz to the raw weight, because most veggies reduce roughly 1 oz when cooked. You may need to experiment with this for yourself. For example: If my meal calls for 14 oz of stir fry veggies, I weigh exactly 15 oz of veggies before cooking them and then let go of the amount after that. They will cook down to about 14 oz or close enough for my peace. This may not work for some who are very high on the susceptibility scale, but this works for me.
Strategy #4: Make too little and supplement to reach veggie weight
Another strategy is to err on the side of too little. Weigh the veggies after cooking and then add a veggie garnish to reach your veggie amount. I often supplement at the end with greens, peas, corn, kraut, or just raw veggies on the side.
Strategy #5: Know your dry to cooked ratios.
For example, I know that 2-3/8 oz. of dry beans yields 6 oz. cooked beans. Keep a pad handy to record these ratios as you make various dishes. It will become secondhand in no time.
Hope that helps!