Picking Up On Portion Control and Bim-Bim-Bulgar

I have a problem, and as far as I can tell, I believe it’s an issue many other runners and athletes have when it comes to their habits in the kitchen too.

Portion control.

Growing up in a family in which chocolate was the norm and bacon was the equivalent of flax seeds and chia, portion control was never at the fore of my dietary vocabulary.

It’s not like these are the signs of bad parenting; I was a thin child and remained that way despite cookie dough binges, Carvel Cake purchases, and meat, meat and more meat through most of my teenage years. Although my mom may not have forbade me from consuming the items I wanted, she nevertheless filled our fridge with fruits and veggies, served dinners of salmon and shrimp, and completely outlawed any type of soda from the dinner table. No water? No beverage. (We were not a milk at the table kind of household.)

Overall, these gentle limitations, while still encouraging me to make my own choices regarding chocolate, candy and yes, Gushers and Dunkaroos, enabled me to establish my own dietary patterns, habits, likes and dislikes. While, like most girls, teens and women in general, I’ve had my fair share of doubts, complaints and insecurities, I like to think that, thanks to running and leading a chiefly fit lifestyle, I’ve learned how to repress negative thoughts, focus on my positive attributes, and consume the kinds of food I love—whether “good” or “bad”—in a balanced manner.

Portion control, however, is still something I’m working on.

For those of you who follow WRFG, you’d know that I’m currently resting up—only taking shorter runs every few days, strength training ever so slightly, stretching a lot, and doing yoga—in preparation for my upcoming Philly RnR Half Marathon training. And whereas I rarely think about what I’m eating and how much when my mileage is at its peak, I sometimes have to remind myself to pull the reins on my love of seconds and thirds (of both entrees and dessert) during those weeks when I’m relatively less active.

On Tuesday night, after 2 days of wine drinking and 2 days of short and slow, 2 to 3 mile post-work runs, I implemented my portion control skills with this creative little bowl of grains I like to call bim-bim-bulgar. (The portion controlled part was that I made it in a bowl, meaning there was no room for seconds or leftovers. Bam. I mean, Bim.)

Bulgar wheat is a whole grain with lots of fiber and Mediterranean roots, but really, this dish is far more universal. Don’t stock bulgar wheat in your cabinets? Try bim-bim-quinoa, or heck, cook up a real bim-bim-bop using brown rice. I was just craving a tomato sauce-y dish, which happens to go really nicely with my grain of choice.

Chickpea Bim-Bim-Bulgar

What you need (ingredients):

½ can of chickpeas

¼ cup of bulgar wheat (it looks small, but it puffs up)

1 Kirby cucumber

1 egg

2 fresh basil leaves (from my window sill, preferably)

Grated Parmesan cheese (obviously)

Cooking spray or extra virgin olive oil

Jarred tomato sauce (you won’t need all of it, so leftover sauce is fine)

Tobasco or Sriracha

Black pepper

What you need (supplies):

1 portion controlled bowl

1 pan

How to make it:

  1. In a microwaveable bowl, cook your bulgar. Make sure there is about a ½ inch of water floating on top of the grains. (You can always drain them or add more.) It should take about 5 minutes in the microwave.
  2. Once the bulgar is cooked, add your chickpeas, tomato sauce, hot sauce (to taste), and black pepper (also to taste). Place this mixture back in the microwave for 1 minute.
  3. Heat up your pan using cooking spray or extra virgin olive oil based on your preference. Cook your egg sunny side up. I like the yoke to be runny, but of course, this is up to you. Consider cracking black pepper on top of your egg as it cooks for flavor.
  4. By now, the microwave should have beeped, meaning your bulgar mixture is almost done. Grab a potholder and remove the bowl.
  5. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Be as generous as you’d like.
  6. Chop up your 2 basil leaves and mix in to the bulgar.
  7. Chop up your cucumber, and place on top of the mixture. Don’t stir in. You don’t want warm cucumbers, rather you want them to offer a refreshing and cool contrast to the warmed wheat.
  8. Top your bim-bim-bulgar off with your fried egg.
  9. Enjoy!
  • Do your eating habits change when you’re training versus when you’re not?

15 thoughts on “Picking Up On Portion Control and Bim-Bim-Bulgar

  1. Yes and no. I have a sweet tooth and if I don’t occasionally give in to it I find I go on a no holds bar binge.
    But day in and out I weigh/measure my food. If I don’t it is amazing how quickly a portion grows. I track what I am eating and how much. I try to eat less, smaller portions, on the days I’m not expending the calories. I try to eat lots of veggies and fruit. I prepare most of my meals at home so it is easy to track what I am eating.

    • The 2 I can certainly relate with – lots of fruits and veggies (I’ve even loved them as a child) and preparing lots of meals at home. While I don’t measure food, I do try to stick to healthful ingredients. If I eat Thai, I order the steamed veggies. If I eat sushi, brown rice. If Mediterranean, a nice cucumber and tomato salad. You get the point. Some say it’s eating like a squirrel, which if you like heavy sauces and meats, etc, is maybe right. But I really enjoy the kinds of food I eat on a regular basis – and it makes that chocolate or frozen fruit or whatever sweet tooth-satisfying item I eat taste that much more like a treat.

  2. Yes, I definitely change my eating habits. Funnily enought though it means that once I start training I eat more food (yum!!) but completely cut back (or even out) the crappy stuff. I dunno why, but after a week filled with hard workouts, the last thing I wanna do is stuff my face with ice cream, i just don’t feel like it (and that’s a rare thing for me to say!). I don’t like denying myself anything but in that case I just feel like it would be counter-productive, so I don’t even crave it. Weird, huh?

    • You’re actually right! I’m the same way. Ex: I drink iced coffee with skim every morning (which I know isn’t bad for you, but the dairy does hurt my belly sometimes). When I run, I just want a nice big iced tea. That’s been kind of hard this week as I pare back on my running. Lots of coffee instead!

      Another problem: I tend to have that same veggie and fruit only feeling after running in Manhattan, but sometimes I go back to Long Island and end my run at my dad and brother’s chocolate store. It’s kind of hard to resist sometimes…

      • Oh totally, not pretending I’m a saint, not at all… but I do think your taste buds change and for the better! Happy chillaxing this week. When’s your race again? I’m on week 1 HM training for an October race… 🙂

      • They do! It’s amazing. Your body just craves “fuel” or whatever that is. I’m a little late to the start – I have a HM on September 16th…but I’m pretty comfortably running between 7 and 9 miles on any given (weekend) day, so I’m not too worried. The last year of training has seasoned me nicely – and I’m not doing this one for time.

      • You’ll be golden then… the amount of running you already do on a weekly basis, no sweat! xo

  3. The title on your blog got my attention, portion control is my downfall every darn time! I wish I could convince myself I didnt need a larger plate, a second serving, or beer #3.
    I try to keep my diet pretty consistent though. I eat much more food when my cardio is up but other then that the boyfriend and I eat the same foods mostly.
    And I forgot about Dunakroos! I bet I would think they were pretty disgusting now lol.

    • Au contraire, Dunkaroos are DELICIOUS now. My bf and I recently picked up a box on a whim (never enter a supermarket hungry), and they’re just as cloying and amazing. Then I ate an apple 🙂

  4. LOVE this recipe! Must try ASAP. My diet hasn’t been so clean and healthy lately and I also start training for my next half next week. I have to start being more mindful of what I fuel my body with again and this is going to be a great addition! I am definitely more aware of my diet and fuel while I am training. Note to self: no more cheese! My body feels better when I don’t eat cheese and lately there has been a lot of cheese. While I’m training the only cheese I tend to eat is parmesan to sprinkle on my food. I seem to do better with portion control while training also. I just seem to be more aware of everything while training! Can’t wait to start again 🙂

    • It’s so true! And Parmesan is such a great topper while training. It satisfies the need for cheese without all the heavy stuff. I put it on ALL my salads. I’m considering starting my training tomorrow, after tonight’s yoga, but we’ll see what happens. I think I’m ready for this running lull (and piriformis rest) to be done.

  5. EXACTLY!!! It doesn’t feel heavy like other cheeses and definitely satisfies my cheese tooth. I think it’s SO SMART that you have listening to your body and giving it some well deserved rest this week before you start training. So hard to do, but definitely pays off. I’m excited to FINALLY meet you in person tonight at yoga 🙂 You’re going to Katherine’s yoga event, right?

  6. Pingback: Will Run For Glitter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s