Monday, 13 August 2012

Do you eat better than your ancestors did? We probably eat a more varied diet than they did, but we eat way too much and we don’t follow the seasons. So in that perspective we actually eat less varied than they did.

So what is a healthy portion size? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention people eat more when served more. In one study, two groups of people were asked to rate the taste of different-sized containers of popcorn. Even when they didn’t like the popcorn, people given larger amount ate more. In another study, participants again eat more when served more, but they didn’t recognize the difference in portion size.

Learning and recognizing a healthy portion size is important for healthy eating.

Many of us tend to underestimate the amount of food we eat and tend to overestimate the recommended portion size for many foods. At the same time we tend to overestimate the amount of exercise (steps per day) we do and unfortunately that equation makes us put on weight.

For example, many people would say they ate one serving of cereal, but a true serving of dry cereal is only ½ cup. Very few people pour only ½ a cup into a bowl without measuring. Or your pasta portion, take your usual portion of pasta and measure it. Chances are you’re eating two, three or four times the amount of the recommended portion size.

So how do we know how much we should eat without measuring every piece of food going into our mouth?

The portion plate has been used for a very long time to educate us about portion size, and it’s still a perfect way to remember and learn how and what to eat. 

Using the portion plate methods is simple, try to make half your plate with fruit and vegetables and that should be about a cup each. A cup of vegetables is pretty much the size of a computer mouse, or a baseball. ¼ of the plate should be your whole grains, example 1 slice of whole wheat bread or ½ cup brown rice, no more than ¼ of the plate should be lean meat like fish or chicken, like the size of a deck of cards.

Fat and oils should be between a tsp and a tbsp.

The plate will help you remember healthy eating habits every time you eat and it doesn’t matter if you eat at home, at a restaurant or at a friend’s place.

And remember to eat slow and let the body and mind feel the fullness before you go for seconds.

Yours in Health & Fitness,


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