Thursday, March 29, 2012

Portion Distortion

Ever notice how big portions are in restaurants these days?  How about when you see people come out of a fast food restaurant with a "bucket" of soft drink?  Over the past 20 years, portion sizes have grown significantly and, to no surprise, so has the American dinner plate.  

Let's take a look a some of the portion sizes and how they have grown over the past couple of decades.

Muffin 20 years ago:                Muffin today:

210 calories                                        500 calories
1.5 ounces                                          4 ounces

Coffee 20 years ago:               Coffee today:

Coffee w/ whole milk & sugar              Mocha w/ steamed whole milk & mocha syrup


45 calories                                         350 calories
8 ounces                                            16 ounces

Bagel 20 years ago:                Bagel today:

140 calories                                        350 calories
3-inch diameter                                   6-inch diameter

These are just a few examples of how much portions have changed.  What can you do to counteract this?  Here are a few tips to help control your portions (and your waistline):
  1. Leave pots/pans/serving dishes in the kitchen.  Make your plate with a single serving then sit down at the dinner table.  This will help you to resist second helpings. takes 20 minutes for your brain to tell your stomach you are full.  So wait after your first helping...if you are still hungry after 20 minutes, have a smaller, second portion.
  2. Learn true serving sizes...NOT portion sizes.  A serving (3 ounces) of meat or poultry is the size of a deck of cards.  A serving (3 ounces) of fish is the size of a checkbook.  A serving (1/2 cup) of pasta, rice or potato is the size of half of a baseball.
  3. Eat smaller meals.  Eating more frequently throughout the day will help to stabilize your blood sugar and will keep you more full longer.
  4. Split your meal at a restaurant.  Share your meal with a friend or ask the server to place half of your meal in a to-go box before it is brought to your table.  Then you have lunch for tomorrow!!
  5. Fill your plate with veggies and use meat as a side dish.  Most of us do not get enough veggies in our daily diet as it is so fill your plate with green, red, and orange veggies.
  6. Place leftovers in "pre-packaged" containers".  Don't just put all of the pasta in one big bowl.  Portion out everything so your next meal is ready to go and is easy to pull out of the fridge.
Remember...cook once, eat twice.  Most at-home cooks make larger portions of food than needed so go ahead and package your next meal before serving your own dinner.  Also, think beyond the dinner plate.  What does that mean?  Take time to enjoy your meal.  Sit down with family and friends and talk about what's happening in everyone's lives.  Turn the TV off during meals and put away the electronics.  Those activities take our mind away from eating and can cause us to overeat.  Enjoy your food, enjoy your company and most of all, breathe and take a moment to relax!

Need more help with portion control?  Make an appointment with our nutrition specialist to find out what you can do to get your portions under control.  Remember, the PROMATx staff is here to help but you have to take the first step.  Don't be embarrassed about what we might think about your meal habits.  We aren't here to judge...we are here to help.  Stop by today.