We are all eating more—we’re skipping meals and eating larger meals. A typical child’s plate is the size of what an adult meal used to be about 10 years ago. Times have changed though and businesses are serving healthy “to go” meals and smaller size “lite” meal options.
Is it necessary to control the portions of everything we eat?
Yes and no. We used to drink regular 6 oz. sodas, but now we may drink two (12 oz.) bottles or use a super-sized cup. A portion of French fries used to be the size of the palm of your hand, and now it is three times as large. These are the kinds of things we need to portion.
Some foods are OK in larger portions. We should get more of foods that are low in calories, high in nutrients (vitamins, minerals) and offer health benefits (fiber, which helps us with normal elimination). Always use common sense and pick foods that offer a lot of nutrition for the portion size.
Portion size your plate2, 3
For example, a ½ cup of cooked non-starchy vegetables, versus 1 cup raw, contains about 20-25 calories.
- Green beans
- Summer squash
In contrast, a ½ cup of a starchy vegetable (½ of a fist) contains about 80 calories, or 4 times the calories of non-starchy vegetables.
- Winter squash (1 cup counts as a serving)
A 1/3 cup of cooked starchy food or grain (1/3 of a fist) contains about 80 calories.
- Whole wheat pasta
- Macaroni or other noodle
- Brown rice, white rice
Vegetarians, and especially vegans (no dairy, eggs, and animal products) should eat more vegetable and grains to get the protein and some of the nutrients they miss from animal products.
- Beans, lentils, pulses
What about fruit? The sweeter the fruit, the more calories it has due to the fruit sugar, or fructose. For example, raisins are dried fruit and have more calories than fresh fruit. Each of the following contain 60 calories.
- ¾ cup blueberries (size of ¾ of a fist)
- 1/3 (11 oz.) cantaloupe or 1 cup of cubes (size of a fist)
- 1 small banana (4 oz.) or 1 small apple (4 oz.) (size of half of a fist)
Protein is another great food that helps us feel full. In addition to the fiber that you get from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, protein contains fat, which also helps with feeling full. The leaner the meat, the lower the calories.
- Meat comparison: 3 oz. chicken breast with no skin (size of deck of cards) is only about 105 calories.
- 3 oz. Polish sausage may be 300 calories (three times the calories).
Dairy foods are a great source of protein. Milk provides eight grams per cup and a slice of cheese provides seven grams. Calories also vary depending on fat content. Other types of milk such as rice milk and almond milk are other foods to include.
All oils (olive, peanut, canola, vegetable, and others) contain about 120 calories per tablespoon—so deep frying lends a lot more oil than sautéing.
Great ways to downsize:4
- Use a smaller plate
- Eat sitting down – put your fork down between bites and chew slowly
- Drink plenty of water – aim for ½ your weight in water daily
- Eat six times per day
- Eat a balanced diet: three times daily incorporate animal or vegetarian protein sources and vegetables
- Fill in between meals with fruit, dairy or alternate. Eat whole grains in 1/3-1/2 cup amounts when included
- When dining out, ask to box up half your food, or share it with a friend
- Sometimes restaurants will let you order “children’s” or “senior” portions, even if you do not qualify
- Have it your way – ask for sauces and dressings on the side, substitute veggies for fries, etc.
- Never go anywhere overly hungry
Too busy to get in a meal or snack? Try Genesis PURE’s HealthTrim® 360 Complete Shake, with water or milk of choice. If weight loss is your goal, consider complementary products as well, such as Metabolic ONE, PURE Café, and other Genesis PURE products for snacks. Genesis PURE Superfruits and ENERGY are great choices. Try HealthTrim Cleanse as well for 7-10 days to help support normal elimination; however, foods that contain fiber should be slowly reintroduced.
Trust your body to tell you when you’re full. It normally takes 20 minutes for your body to feel full. However, if you still feel hungry after 20 minutes, it is okay to eat more. Foods high in protein (such as lean meats or meat alternates) and fiber (such as fresh fruits and vegetables) tend to fill you up faster and enhance your nutrition intake for the day!5