Calories can pile up on you faster than a big rig with no breaks! "Portion sizes are getting bigger, and Americans are getting fatter," says Melanie Polk, R.D., director of nutrition education for the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). "The two trends are related. Over the past few decades the amount of food we consume has steadily increased." This lack of portion control is happening for two main reasons:
1. The food industry is taking our money, wining and dining us (with super inflated foods) , and making us come back for more and more
2. We are letting ourselves loose sight of self/portion control
See food through another lens by using these 3 tips and learn when to say when.
1. Learn to Eye Ball Portions
You must first learn how much food is on your plate, in order to estimate the amount of calories in a meal.
At home, check the serving size listed on the "Nutrition Facts" food label, and fill up a measuring spoon or cup with that amount. Next, empty the food onto a clean plate. At this point, take a mental snapshot of what you see, paying close attention to how much of the plate is being covered. Repeating these mental notes while "eyeballing" a single serving of many different foods is a reliable reference tool for gauging portion size in the future.
To consume proper portions when dining out use these tricks for healthy portion sizing:
Thumb tip or 1 small marble = 1 tsp (e.g., oil or jam)
Thumb tip to first knuckle or 1 large marble = 1 Tbsp (e.g., peanut butter)
Thumb or 2 large marbles = 2 Tbsp solid food (e.g., nuts) or 1 oz liquid (e.g., salad dressing)
Golf ball or cupped handful = ¼ c (e.g., beans)
Hockey Puck or palm = 3 oz (cooked meat, poultry, or fish)
Tennis ball = ½ c (e.g., fruit)
Your fist or baseball = 1 c (e.g., vegetables or pasta)
2. Spot Hidden Fat and Sugar
While you're cooking swap in low-fat ingredients, such as reduced fat salad dressing, cheese, and milk. While dining out watch for signs your food is soaked in fat: a high-gloss shine or white coating on foods that aren't naturally white, pools of oil on the plate, or a dark stain or oil ring on a paper bag or plate. Know that sugar is in the driver's seat in soft drinks, desserts, and candy-and in foods you might not expect like crackers and ketchup. Read the labels and spot the hidden sugar sources (such as dextrose and high fructose corn syrup), or choose sugar free alternatives.
3. Split Your Plate 6 Ways
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then what a beautiful thing it is-holding a healthy portioned out plate. Polish off a 400 cal piece of chocolate cake and call it "well calculated-portioned out meal", but you will stay satisfied longer and eat healthier with a meal with the right mix of veggies, fats, fruits, proteins, and grains. For balanced nutrition and no-brainer calorie control, divide your plate into six sections:
One Section with protein
Two sections with grain
And the remaining Three with fruits and veggies
This trick won't work for every meal, but use it as a handy guide to eat in an energy boosting, healthy way.