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Understanding Portions

Change, Lasting Lifestyle Changes, Nutrition | Comments Off on Understanding Portions
Understanding Portions

Load up on Nutrients, not on Big Portions
The best way to get all of the essential nutrients your body needs is to eat a variety of foods and to make every calorie count. Eating nutrient dense foods will benefit your health and help you shed those extra pounds. Nutrient dense foods are those that contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals (important for health), and can be found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts.

Portion Size Control
Americans have reached an all-time high of obesity and diabetes. This is due in part to the ever-increasing portion sizes sold to us in fast food chains, supermarket aisle, frozen foods, and even in many restaurants. Consequently, we grossly overestimate a normal portion size.

Picture your plate as a clock. Let’s say it is 3:00 p.m. You would want to fill the section between 12:00 and 3:00 o’clock with your meat or dairy servings for that meal. If your meat or diary portion is larger than the space on your plate, you are eating too much. The rest of your plate should be rounded out with servings of grains, fruit and vegetables.

Following are a few more portion control tips:
Do not put more food out than what you want to eat. Pay attention to how many servings a recipe states it makes and try to stick to the equivalent of one serving.

When eating in a restaurant request salad dressing, butter, sour cream, pancake syrup and such be served on the side. This way you can control the portion you add to your food.

If you are not sure of ingredients in a recipe when dining out, ask! For example, if you want an omelet, find out how many eggs they use to make their omelets. If they use three or four, request one or two. Your entrée should be about the size of a deck of cards. If it is larger cut half and place in a box to go before you begin eating.

What are other ways to control portions? Here are some tips to slim down portions:

  • Beware of unconscious eating. This is where we are not aware of how much food we are putting in our mouths. We snack more; we are eating by ourselves, in front of the TV or talking on the phone.
  • Use smaller plates. You won’t be tempted to fill up all the space of a big platter with extra food you do not need.
  • Serve yourself what you would normally dish out, but then cut everything in half and save the rest for lunch the next day.
  • If it’s a fast food restaurant, get the small choices like regular or jr. hamburger, small fry or a salad or fruit.
  • What about holidays and social events? Again, you can have most everything – just put a little on your plate – set limits for yourself and if you have a bit too much, it’s all about moderation/compensation
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • You have got to want to do it – if you don’t see the importance of watching servings, you won’t do it.
  • “Kill the plate,” or make whatever is left on the plate unavailable to nibble on, whether it is a napkin across the food, or, in an extreme move, pouring salt over the leftovers.
  • An extra 10 calories per day translates to one pound gained per year. So you can see how all of these calorie increases combined can translate to weight gain over the long- term.

Americans tend to ignore serving size when they are attempting to maintain/lose weight. We think we need to skip meals, or avoid carbs, or starve ourselves in order to lose – but in actuality, all we need to do is to watch our portion size.

Now that you are more aware of portion sizes, consider what you have been eating. Most likely, you will find it has been too much at one sitting and you were not even aware of it. It is a struggle in today’s society. This is why self-educating is so important. Once aware of things such as this, you can take total control over your weight destiny! All it requires rewards are fantastic for your health, well-being and wellness.