Wednesday, January 26, 2011

10 Easy Portion Control Tips

"Diet" is a word I don't like to use. What I mean if I do use the word "diet", I mean "healthy habits or lifestyle". Diets are dangerous. Most of them are fads. Most of them produce a yo-yo effect. Most of them don't address the deeper issues of overeating.

I believe as a society, for the most part, we need to change our eating habits and examine what we eat and WHY we eat it. Is that snack because you are hungry? Or is it a response to an emotional issue? Is comfort food really comforting in the long run?

The majority of the food that enters our mouths should be full of vitamins and nutrients, and low in fat and empty calories. For example, 3 tablespoons of sunflower seeds sprinkled over a salad is a healthy choice. They still have fat, but it is a healtheir fat than say, 3 tablespoons of bacon bits. It isn't all about calorie counting and watching fats. It is being aware of what the fats and calories are from.

Another pet peave of mine is portion control. Americans eat enough in one meal to feed most people three meals. Americans think that supersizing is normal, and don't care about the consequences. Over the last year, I have become amazed at how different and actual serving size is compared to what I perceive it to be. A serving size of my favorite Kashi cereal is 1 cup. That's it. One cup is 200 calories. If I fill my bowl, I'm pretty much doubling it, and that doesn't include the milk I add after. I could have 500 calories before I even think.

I found the following article very helpful. Remember, portion size is important! Equally important is being aware of what you are putting in your mouth. Oh, don't forget to drink water (it helps digestion) all day, and get in exercise most days.

I'm off to cook some lentils. :P

10 Easy Portion Control Tricks
Portion control is an important part of maintaining a healthy diet. Here are 10 easy ways to limit what you eat.
By Kristen Stewart
Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH
When most of us sit down to eat, the last thing we want to think about is portion control. But for anyone on a diet or just looking to maintain their current figure, that’s exactly what they should be doing.

Gone are the days of eating a bagel or muffin and feeling safe about its calories. In fact, researchers measured typical servings from takeout restaurants, fast food chains, and family-style eateries and found that bagels were 195 percent larger than the standard set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), muffins were 333 percent bigger and cooked pasta exceeded the standard by 480 percent. Scariest of all were cookies, which were a whopping seven times the USDA recommended serving size.

Portion Control and Diet: How It Works

The first step in successful portion control is learning the correct serving size — the amount of food recommended by government agencies, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans put out by the USDA and Department of Health and Human Services, and the USDA Food Guide Pyramid. The serving size can usually be found by reading nutritional labels. But the portion is the amount of food or drink a person chooses to consume. In many cases, the portion eaten is larger than the serving size simply because we don’t know any better.

“Portion control is limiting what you eat,” says Mary M. Flynn, RD, PhD, chief research dietitian and assistant professor of medicine at the Miriam Hospital and Brown University in Providence, R.I. “It is being aware of how much food you are actually eating and what calories are in that serving.”

Portion Control and Diet: 10 Easy Tips for Smaller Servings

The good news is that with a little practice, portion control is easy to do and can help people be successful in reaching and then maintaining a proper weight.

Here are 10 simple ways to keep your portions a healthy size:

1. Measure accurately. For foods and beverages, use gadgets like a measuring cup, tablespoon, teaspoon, or food scale.

2. Learn how to estimate serving sizes. “‘Ballpark’ food portion sizes by estimating serving sizes in comparison to known objects,” says Rose Clifford, RD, clinical dietitian in the department of pharmacy services at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC. “For example, three ounces of cooked meat, fish, or poultry is about the size of a deck of cards.” Other easy measurements to eyeball include:

½ cup is the size of an ice cream scoop
1 cup is the size of a tennis ball
1 ounce of cheese is the size of a domino
3. Use portion control dishware. Pick out smaller plates, bowls, cups, and glassware in your kitchen and measure what they hold. You might find that a bowl you thought held 8 ounces of soup actually holds 16, meaning you’ve been eating twice what you planned.

4. Dish out your servings separately. Serve food from the stove onto plates rather than family-style at the table, which encourages seconds.

5. Make your own single-serving packs. “Re-portion bulk quantities of favorite foods such as pasta, rice, and cereal into individual portions in zipper bags so that when you’re in the mood for some food you’ll instantly see the number of portions you’re preparing,” says Jennifer Nasser, RD, PhD, assistant professor in the department of biology at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

6. Add the milk before the coffee. When possible, put your (fat-free) milk into the cup before adding the hot beverage to better gauge the amount used.

7. Measure oil carefully. This is especially important because oil (even the healthful kinds like olive and safflower) have so many calories; don’t pour it directly into your cooking pan or over food.

8. Control portions when eating out. Eat half or share the meal with a friend. If eating a salad, ask for dressing on the side. Dip your fork into the dressing and then into the salad.

9. Add vegetables. Eat a cup of low-calorie vegetable soup prior to eating a meal, or add vegetables to casseroles and sandwiches to add volume without a lot of calories.

10. Listen to your hunger cues. Eat when hungry and stop when satisfied or comfortably full. “Try to gauge when you are 80 percent full and stop there,” says Clifford. “There will be more food at the next meal or snack!


...they call me mommy... said...

Good tips!!! I am doing SO BAD in this area... >:{

How are you doing with your exercising? Do you still use the WATP videos?

Say, you will be PROUD of me! I have *this close* to finishing a simple baby quilt for my new nephew! :D I hope to do a post on it in a few days!!! I worked on it just faithfully for a couple of days and viola! Almost finished! :)

Love the little vest for your Issac! :)

The Savage said...

Want a snack? Drink a glass of water & wait 10-15 minutes. If then you still want a snack--figure out what it is you're hungry for *before* you start eating. (Sweet, salty, cold, crunchy???) If you really want something sweet and cold, munching on a properly proportioned serving of chips or pretzels won't satisfy. ;-)