Control the Crazy PortionsStaring into the Bottomless Plate
-- By Zach Van Hart, Staff Writer
Question: Is it possible to eat meals consisting entirely of healthy
foods, such as carrots, fish, apples and whole wheat bread, and
continue to gain weight?
Answer: Yes, because you can still eat too much, even if everything is
good for you.
Portions have grown by leaps and bounds over the last couple of
decades. Not surprisingly, our weight has followed right along with it. A huge
part of the problem is that people tend to eat what’s in front of them,
whether they’re hungry or not. To fight this problem, it’s important to
find reasons to cut down on what you put on your plate in the first
Portion size is a major contributor to weight problems, whether you eat
out or at home. Restaurants serve huge plates of food, consisting of
several servings per person, making it easy to go way past the
recommended amount per meal.
It does not stop when you eat at home. It’s been estimated that portion
sizes in the past 20 years have increased in restaurants and at home by
as much as 50%. Today, the average person eats 200 more calories each
day than in the 1970s. Many store bought cookies are now more than 7
times bigger than the recommended serving size. Did you know that a
typical dinner plate holds three servings of spaghetti, not just one? When
you fill up your entire plate with food, you’re likely eating more than
you bargained for.
On the bright side, portion size is something you can change, without
getting rid of your favorite foods. All it takes is a few simple habits
to control how much you eat during a sitting. Here are a few tips you
can use when dining in or out:
Order an appetizer as an entree (main dish). Remember to stay away
from fried foods though.
Split an entree with another person.
Order from the lunch menu at dinnertime.
Leftovers are okay. Feel free to wrap up half your meal to go
Order smaller sizes such as a half-order of pasta or a "petite" cut
of meat. Even so, portions may still be hefty. It's not unusual for a
"smaller" portion of meat to be an 8-ounce serving.
In fast-food restaurants avoid "extra value" or "super size" meals,
unless you split it with a friend. A regular small hamburger is usually
equivalent to one serving of meat and two servings of grain.
Set the table with smaller plates. Since you can’t fit as many
servings on your plate, filling the whole plate is no big deal. Smaller
dishes also make the food look bigger, which has a proven effect on your
level of hunger.
Skip seconds and get out the Tupperware.
Divide up single serving portions ahead of time, in sealable bags or
Read the packaging! Follow the recommended serving size and eat only
Eat foods that curb hunger: oranges, apples, oatmeal, fish, brown