Thursday, March 19, 2009

Portion Control

It seems like everything these days is about more bang for your buck. I love a great deal, and I'm sure you do too. It seems, however, that this mind set has gotten America to a VERY dangerous place. In this place a portion is considered the amount that you can stuff in your face without becoming sick; a serving is whatever the restaurant happens to serve on your platter sized plate; and paying the extra 25 cents for triple the amount of food couldn't seem like a better deal. We're all victims. Everyday we are served more than enough to eat, and unfortunately...we eat it. Gladly. So, what is to be done? If you are looking to slim down, lose weight, get healthy, or D. All of the above, you have to fight the norm. You HAVE to know what your eating, and more importantly HOW MUCH. It doesn't matter if you chose the reduced fat Wheat Thins over the regular Wheat Thins if all you're going to do is down the whole box in one sitting. Those magic words on the box don't make you thinner. Too bad, I know. I've written several times about food journaling, recording calories, and being specific on what is going in your mouth. These may seem overwhelming to you, but just simply being aware of how much your eating can make a big difference. Here are some tips to being on top of your portions.

- Do your own "pre-packaging." You grab the bag of pretzels, open it, and start a'munching. Next thing you know 1/2 the bag is gone...oops. Mindless eating happens ALL the time. So what's a snacker to do? As soon as you get home from the store divide your goods into portioned snack bags. This way you know exactly what you're eating. You won't be caught in robotic hand mode.

- Veggies first! Whether you're out to dinner or eating from the comfort of your own table go for the veggies or a salad first. Filling up on these low-cal items first can help you not to binge on the higher calorie main dishes. If you are serving yourself fill your plate with veggies. You'll be more likely to serve yourself a smaller portion of everything else, which means lower calories.

- Keep your blood sugar at bay. Three square meals a day is great and all...but most of the time this means 3 BIG square meals a day. Waiting hours and hours between meals to eat can cause rapid spikes in your blood sugar, and can cause you to "binge eat" when meal time comes around. Make your 3 main meals a little smaller, and add some snacks in between. This will regulate your blood sugar, keep your cravings down, and keep your energy up.

- Become a Meal-Sharer. Everyone loves to eat out, but like I mentioned before the platter is the new dinner plate. D-A-N-G-E-R... Split a meal with a friend. The odds are you'll be satisfied, and you're saving yourself the chance that you might have eaten twice the calories.

-Second guess your second helping. Before you reach for another plateful of pasta because it was sooooooooo goood...(which i'm sure it was)...ask yourself, "am I really still hungry?" Chances are you probably aren't. Save yourself the calories, and the time of baking another meal. Eat your second helping for dinner tomorrow night.

-Measure it out. I know, super annoying, super tedious...blah, blah, blah. Truth? SUPER effective. Cereal is my favorite item to measure due to the fact that most people consider a bowl a serving. Not true unfortunately. In fact, some cereal's serving sizes are only 1/2 a cup, which means you're eating about 3 to 4 servings-worth in one sitting. This can make for a 500-600 calorie breakfast. GOO! I'm not saying you can only eat one serving of cereal for breakfast, but I AM saying be aware if you are eat two or three. This could be the source of some extra calories. Try measuring it out. Odds are your "eye-balling it" is a bit off. Soon you'll learn to guesstimate about right (3 oz. of meat is the size of a deck of cards or an audio tape; 1 oz. of meat is the size of a matchbook; 1 cup of potatoes, rice or pasta looks like a tennis ball.)

-Order Kids Meals. Although not all resturaunts will allow this, some do. Usually the kids size is plenty of food, and these days a lot of places are even throwing in a veggies side. Heck, you might even get a toy!

-Box it up Beforehand. We're all a bunch of talkers. We sit, we eat, we talk. We talk some more and while we're talking we continue to eat...possibly more than we meant to, but it's just right in front of us! Ask for a to-go box right of the bat, or ask to have 1/2 your food boxed up right away. You get two meals, and you won't be binging.


Teejay, Laurie and James said...

Great post...just what I needed!

The Smith Clan said...

Good reminders Megan!