Portion Control: Is There Too Much Food On Your Plate?
Portion control is critical for anyone to find success with their weight goals. The spotlight on portion control was re-lit when First Lady Michelle Obama introduced the healthy eating initiative called “My Plate”. The portioning recommendations were created to help with weight control and as a means to curb the alarming rise in type 2 diabetes in the United States.
Portion sizes can be deceiving. The ‘jumbo size’ mentality of carry-out restaurants has skewed our point of view of what’s ‘normal’. One example is a bagel. 20 years ago a typical bagel weighed out at 1.5 ounces. Now, they normally weigh around 5 ounces.
Tips to help you understand appropriate portion sizes are:
1. Use an electronic food scale (if you place your serving/measuring container on the scale before you turn it on, it will include that container and balance the ounce number to start at 0). It helps you get a more accurate understanding of the weight of certain foods, which will allow you to portion them more appropriately.
2. Pre-formed portion plates are fun for kids, and take the guess work out of the healthiest choices for food groups.
3. Read food labels for ’portions included’ for the calorie count. This is especially true for beverages.
4. Use small sized plates and utensils. Dinner plates have blossomed over 14 inches in some cases. Try using a salad plate.
5. Fill ½ of your plate with vegetables, 3oz. of lean protein, and ¼ healthy whole grain carbohydrates, using a small amount of healthy oils in the preparation.
6. Ask for a to-go-box delivered with your meal. Keep an appropriate portion, and box up the extra for your lunch tomorrow. If you hope to leave it on your plate and box it up later, the temptation to mindlessly eat it might get the best of you.
7. Know your limitations. I have trouble in buffet atmospheres in controlling my portions, so avoid those environments and steer toward alas carte menus.
8. Keep a food log or diary. This is especially helpful if you are managing diabetes. By recording your intake and your blood glucose numbers, you can control many issues involving diabetes.
9. Watch the empty calories in drinks and candy.
As you age, managing your weight issues becomes more of a challenge. Try these ideas to keep you on track.