Smartypantz, taking it one day at a time.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Portion Control


You've probably heard a lot about portion control recently and for good reason. Eating healthy and losing weight doesn't mean you have to cut out the foods you love, but it does mean you have to be mindful of portion size. Get the dish on this healthy lifestyle trend and start changing the way you eat!


In recent years, serving sizes have increased and so have American waistlines. According to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines, "most Americans consume more calories than they need without meeting recommended intakes for a number of nutrients." With super-sized servings and all-you-can-eat buffets, there's no denying that losing track of normal portions is easier than ever.



Helpful tips for controlling portion size:



Know the difference between something worth eating and something you could pass up. It's all about quality over quantity!



Don't serve family style at home. Instead, pre-plate each person's meals in the kitchen and bring the plates to the table. You'll be more conscious of that extra helping if you have to get up from the table to get it.



Eyeball your portions. A 1-cup serving of rice is the size of your fist. An ounce of cheese looks like a large marble. Two tablespoons of salad dressing will fill a ping-pong ball.



When dining out at a restaurant, don't be afraid to ask if you can purchase a smaller lunch-size entree as your dinner.



Use smaller plates; big plates dwarf normal portion sizes.



Figure out what 1,500 calories looks like. If you're trying to lose weight on a 1,500 calorie meal plan, you need to maintain a healthy mix of those calories - at least five servings of fruits and vegetables; six of whole grain breads, rice, crackers and other grains; two of protein foods; and three of nonfat dairy products. Learn about serving sizes: 3 ounces of lean meat, fish or poultry (the size of a deck of cards) is one serving. One slice of bread is one serving, while a large bagel may equal almost five!



Eat when you're hungry. Stop when you're comfortable, but not full or stuffed.



Cook more, eat out less. When you are the chef, you control the cooking methods and portion sizes.



Eat slowly. It takes about 15-20 minutes for the stomach to signal the brain that it's full. Allow that amount of time for each meal.

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