Thursday, 9 June 2011

Health Tip: Portion Distortion

I've noticed a lot with trying to stay fit that portions are so off. For me I try to live by the "eat until I'm full" rule and I usual eat slow, and I eat a lot of small meals throughout the day, so I get full pretty quick. If we are out in a restaurant I usually only eat about half of my food and take the rest home and eat it for another meal.

I've been trying to stick more to the right caloric intake for my body size and I find all this portion information very interesting and very helpful. Here are parts of an article I found to help you stay away from over eating and going over board with huge portions.

Trim your trigger foods
Most people typically overeat two or three favorite foods—usually pastas, breads, meats, snacks, or sweets, says Stacey Nelson, MS, RD, LDN, senior clinical nutritionist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. It may be that we love the taste, nosh mindlessly in front of the TV, or just hang on to a childhood habit. Nelson’s tip: Get to know recommended serving sizes for your favorites, and stick to them as closely as you can.

See less, eat less
“We eat whatever portion is placed before us,” says David Levitsky, PhD, an obesity researcher at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. So the trick is to avoid seeing more food than you want to eat.

This strategy worked for Susan Pedersen, 40, of Wichita, Kan. By immediately putting away food after serving herself the right-size portions, she skipped second helpings and lost 35 pounds. “I’d cook only one portion of meat or serve about a cup of spaghetti and then refrigerate the leftovers,” she says. “The rest of the meal would be salad with a low-fat dressing and some fruit.”

Shrink your plates
Try eating dinner on smaller side plates; you’ll have less to eat. “When I eat off of a salad plate, I still feel full. It definitely works,” says Suzanne Rapp, 33, an equity trader in Boston who shed 10 pounds in less than three months.

Create your own after-meal ritual

Brush your teeth. Chew a piece of sugarless gum. Or sip a hot drink like tea or sugar-free cocoa. These rituals can be cues to stop eating and should help curb the impulse to indulge in seconds or dessert, Nelson says.

Try practicing mind over munching
Overeating is often a psychological problem. These mind games may help.

  • Think of meat and pasta as side dishes. For instance, fill half your plate with broccoli and cauliflower, a quarter with chicken, and a quarter with linguine.
  • Imagine you’re treating your body like a trash can when you polish off morsels you don’t really want. Yuck.
  • Many of us are programmed to eat in “units” (one sandwich, one yogurt, etc.), notes a new study in Psychological Science. If that sounds like you, stick to small units. Chances are, you won’t go back for another—or back to your old dress size.

If you want to see if you have a good understanding on our new portions take this quiz!

Here are a couple great pictures to give you an idea of sizing and portions

So I get to the end of all this and I still ask myself "How many servings of each food group should I be eating a day?". I did some more research on that and I think it's crazy what a lot of the pyramids say. 6-11 grain servings a day? Are you serious? I mean even at the size of a cassette tape that's still a lot to me! Here's a pyramid for your interest but....

I think a lot of this you need to decide for yourself. If you want to lose weight, if you want to maintain a certain weight, if you want to build muscle, well it's all different diets so I think a chart like the one above is just a guide. I am in the process of trying to lose weight but keep it off with still being able to have sweets and treats when I want them. I know how to lose weight super fast (read my diet) that's not a problem, it's just a matter of staying there. I think I am going to try something like:

Grain: 2-4 a day
Meat/protein: 2 a day (40g of protein)
Veggies: 6 a day
Fruit: 1-2 a day
Dairy: 1-3 a week (I don't believe we really need this in our diet, we need the vitamins and minerals but that we should be getting from other foods in the first place)
Fats/Oils: 1 a day

To me even this sounds like a lot of food to take in but I'm working on switching my mind set to what portions really are and not what I think they are (what they have become over the last 10-20 years).

I hope you found this helpful! Here's to your health!


  1. Hola Amanda: gracias por pasar por mi cocina, bienvenida !!!
    Esta entrada me gusta mucho, creo que ahora es un grave problema las cantidades que comemos de alimento... debemos cuidar nuestra salud.
    Gracias y seguimos visitándonos

  2. Interesting! I really like the portions you've outlined for yourself and completely agree with not eating not much dairy. (crazy I know since I make buttery sugar cookies) I'm someone that can easily have blood sugar spikes so always linking carbs with an equal serving of protein has been life changing for me.

  3. thank you so much for sharing. I found this post very helpful!


Thanks for your comments and feedback! I enjoy reading each one :)

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