Whether we are eating at home or grabbing fast food, just about everything we consume these days has become supersized.
Consequentially, our bodies have, too. Keep reading to learn why portion sizes have just as much importance as the actual foods you eat when it comes to weight control.
72 million Americans (1/3 of the country) are considered to be obese. The amount of food that we eat is a significant contributor to the obesity epidemic in America. Our disregard of portion sizes is physically evident in our bodies.
B?ecause we are offered continuously free refills for our sodas or can supersize our side orders, most of us have difficulty regulating the amount of food we consume. However, if you’re looking to regulate your weight, you need to start exhibiting portion control.
Portion Control: What Is It?
“Portion” is a word used to describe an amount or serving of a particular food.
Whether you’re eating takeout or making something at home, the portion sizes on your plate are usually recommended by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and the guidelines they set forth. They are the ones who determine what the serving sizes should be of the foods you eat.
As such, your caloric intake might be much higher than you realize. An excessive amount of any kind of food – whether it is healthy or not – can result in weight gain. That means you need to be more cautious about what you put in your body to keep your weight healthy.
Portion regulation entails understanding what the average size is of any given food. You need to make sure that you aren’t eating more than necessary each day. Portion control can establish a meal’s calorie content.
The more food you consume, the greater the amount of calories you’ll be introducing to your body. If you are trying to keep your weight at healthy levels, you shouldn’t be consuming more calories than necessary.
Sizing up Your Daily Portion Totals
The USDA offers the following suggestions for a diet limited to 2000 daily calories:
- At least 3 ounces of a whole-grain product.
- 3 cups’ worth of fat-free or low-fat milk. Alternatively, that same amount in any dairy product).
- 2 cups’ worth of fruit.
- 2.5 cups’ worth of vegetables.
- 5.5 ounces’ worth of meat (lean) or 1.25 cups’ worth of cooked beans.
Be mindful that these amounts are totals for the key food groups that should be consumed each day. You should plan accordingly. By consuming a chicken breast (large) or a stake (small) for a meal, then you might have fulfilled the meat requirement the whole day.
Further, a diet limited to 2000 calories isn’t suitable for everyone. In fact, that number might be either too much or too little for you. The specific amount of calories you will need to eat each day will be contingent on your current height, weight, and daily activity.
To determine the number of calories you will need each day, check out the food pyramid on the USDA’s website. Doing so will give you a breakdown of various portion sizes.
Portion Size Recognition
It is unpractical to believe that everything that you eat can be weighed. However, you do have the ability to visualize what certain portion sizes should be. This will give you a better picture of what amounts to consume when dining out or eating in.
- Use the same size bowls and plates for each meal that you eat. Doing so will help you visualize what certain portion sizes should look like per dish.
- Create visual cues – match portion amounts to items that are familiar to you.
- One 3 ounce meat serving equals a soap bar or card deck.
- One medium potato resembles the average computer mouse.
- One-half cup’s worth of rice resembles a cupcake wrapper (regular sized)
- One cheese ounce is akin to four dice.
- The amount of sandwich meat you consume should resemble the perimeter of a regular slice of bread (whole-wheat).
- The number of vegetables that you eat should be double the perimeter of your sandwich meat.
- Keep your eye on the space that food takes up on your plate. For example, on a plate that measures 8” x 10”, 50% of your plate should contain vegetables. A potato, rice, or other types of starch should take up a quarter of the plate. The remaining quarter should contain protein. Your plate should never overflow. In fact, there should be plenty of space between your servings.
What to Do When You Eat out
Regulating the size of your portions when you’re eating away from home can be challenging. That’s because, for the most part, restaurant and fast food servings are a lot larger than the recommended sizes.
With that said, there are several ways you can regulate portion sizes whenever you eat out.
- Pick something from the kid’s menu, assuming the venue allows you to.
- Have a salad or appetizer for an entrée.
- Order something from one of the side menu items instead of something on the main dish menu.
- Ask for the portion sizes they serve at lunch for dinner. Lunch portions tend to be a lot smaller.
- Request a takeout box when ordering your meal. Before you begin eating, take 50% of whatever is on the plate and put it in the container. Take whatever is in the container home with you when you go. This is especially recommended for deli sandwiches, as they are usually double the amount that someone needs.
When it comes to portion regulation, you don’t have to deprive yourself of anything. You just have to eat in moderation.