Our society today is full of food choices, everywhere you look! In fact, all of our senses are bombarded with food and beverage choices at every turn. Think about how many times you experience food or drink options on your way to work?
You open your front door to leave for work and the menu from the Chinese place down the street falls to the ground displaying all their plates and prices. You snatch it up and toss it on your passenger seat. You back out and drive down the road to the first street light where all four corners hold convenient stores and cafes that are sporting pictures and text in their windows about their latest deals on food and drink. While you wait, you flip through the Chinese menu. Driving to the next light you stop at the gas station and while you’re filling up, find yourself staring at the drink ad they placed above the pump. You get back into your car and drive towards your office passing a billboard for fast foods latest deal on a meal combo. You park and get into the office only to find someone has left a pastry on your desk again! While you slide the sticky pastry to the side of your desk, some of the icing sticks to your thumb. A quick lick and it’s gone, but the sweetness lingers on your tongue. You sit down at your desk and cannot help but notice the smell of bacon emanating from your colleagues fast food breakfast sandwich (must have seen the billboard!) It’s only been 30 minutes since you left your house and look at how many opportunities you passed up to eat or drink!
It’s no wonder to me that we, as a population, tend to overeat. We can get food and drink almost anywhere and cheap! We have so many sources telling us to indulge, and very few, if any, telling us to stop. Thus, I wrote this blog today in the hopes of helping you find a way to practice portion control with your food.
What is a portion?
By definition, a portion is a piece of something. When you build your plate for meals, you should be filling it with only parts of food items.
Ex. You put a slice of pizza and a scoop of salad on your plate instead of the whole pizza and the whole salad.
What is the correct portion for an adult (18 or older)?
American Heart Association’s Recommended Portions/Servings:
1 slice of whole grain bread
1 oz cereal
½ cup of cooked oats
½ cup of cooked pasta
½ cup cooked rice
1 cup of raw leafy vegetables (about the size of a small fist)
1/2 cup of other vegetables
1/2 cup of vegetable juice
1 medium fruit (medium is defined as the size of a baseball)
1/2 cup chopped, cooked or canned fruit
1/2 cup juice
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans and Nuts:
2 to 3 ounces of cooked lean meat poultry or fish
1/2 cup cooked dry beans
2 tablespoons of nut butter
Milk, Yogurt and Cheese:
1 cup of fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt
1 1/2 ounces fat-free or low-fat cheese
How many portions do adults need per meal?
The Harvard School of Public Health and other national institutions (NOT the USDA) suggest:
1 serving of protein (meats, nuts, dairy, beans)
1 serving of grains
2 servings of veggies or fruits (can be combined)
Ex. 3oz of salmon, ½ cup brown rice with seasoning, 1 cup of steamed veggies
Ex. 1 slice of whole grain bread, 2 tablespoons almond butter, ½ cup of juice, and an apple
Ex. ½ cup chili, 1 slice of whole grain bread, 1 cup of salad
Ex. 1 slice of bread, 3oz of low sodium deli meat, ½ cup baby carrots, and a banana
That is it? I will be hungry again in an hour!
If you find yourself starving again soon after your meal, eat a healthy snack or eat another portioned meal. As long as you keep building your meals with the correct portions, it makes it hard to overeat in one sitting!
How do I make sure I have the right portion?
There are many options out there to help you learn how to determine portions like these hand portion guides here. However, measuring cups and scales work well too.
Practice! Practice! Practice!!
Practice everyday building meals with the correct portions. In the beginning, it takes time and learning. But I PROMISE you will not have to weigh out or measure your food forever. Eventually, you learn how to determine a portion and eating the correct servings becomes second nature.
Kelly Williams, M.A. C.P.T.
Fit For Adventures, LLC
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