Many times I get questions from Zoners who are aghast at all the favorable carbohydrates they think they have to consume at each meal.
Here’s an example:
“I'm a little bit confused about vegetable portion sizes. You say that 4 cups of mushrooms equals one block, 2 green peppers equal one block, 10 cups of spinach equal one block, and 1 ½ cucumbers equal 1 block. Really?!!
“That would mean that for lunch or dinner I would eat 4 cups of mushrooms, 2 full green peppers, 10 cups of spinach, and more than an entire cucumber? That seems impossible (and very undesirable)…Sorry to bother you with such a basic question, but the portions--at least for the vegetables--seem really insane.”
I also have been asked this question:
“Are you telling me I have to have 12 cups of broccoli at one meal? You’ve got to be kidding…10 cups of lettuce?”
It’s true four cups of broccoli equal one block. But nobody wants to eat that much broccoli or even chop that much broccoli for each meal.
Also, treat lettuce as a freebie. The amount of lettuce used in a side salad certainly won’t budge your block count.
Let’s say you used 4 cups of broccoli for one block. It could be cooked in 1cup tomato sauce (2 blocks) with nine chopped olives (3 blocks) and topped with 3 ounces of chicken. That would make a meal for a typical woman. A man might want to add a small piece of fruit, another ounce of chicken and three more olives.
Black beans, kidney beans, hummus and chickpeas also weigh in at ¼ cup equaling a block.
A great three-bean salad could be made from ¼ cup each of chickpeas, kidney beans and black beans.
And don’t forget lentils. About ¼ cup cooked equals one block. (Check the label.) They make a good addition to soups and stews.
You can also add 1 cup of berries to complete your meal.