Friday, January 20, 2012
The Most Important Portion Control Tips
By guest blogger, Tom Corson-Knowles
Portions, Portions, Portions...
You've heard it before and here it is again; when it comes to nutrition and diet the most important thing (aside from what you are actually eating) is portion control. Even eating only the healthiest foods doesn't work if you aren't eating the right portions. Sure, it's often said that you can never eat too many vegetables, but eating too much of many other foods can help make your middle grow and grow. It isn't difficult to learn portion control and I will tell you how.
Read the Label
The very first step in learning about portions is learning to actually read the labels on the foods that you eat. More importantly, read the serving size on the label. Read it carefully, please. A normal loaf of bread says its serving size is 2 slices, for 140 calories. Look at the difference on some gluten-free bread; 1 slice is a serving at 45 calories. If you pick healthy foods that are low in salt content and sugar content then you really don't need to pay as close attention to calorie count as you would think. Instead, eat healthy and eat the correct serving/portion amounts and you will be on the right track. The USDA gives us a basis with their recommended intake from each food group too. But remember, even vegans and vegetarians eat healthy and get all the nutrients they need without eating meat. So you don't have to eat exactly what the USDA says, that's why it's called a recommendation!
Know Basic Portion Sizes
This is the fun part. Instead of implementing a food scale in your kitchen to weigh out 3 ounces of meat, you can simply memorize this handy little portion size scale.
Pasta and Rice:
A serving size of either of these grains is about the size of a light bulb. These foods are often filling and a full serving can keep you from eating too much of other things, like meat and dairy.
Peanut Butter and Hummus:
These meal additives have a serving size of a gold ball. Peanut butter is a great source of protein, perfect for a lunchtime pick-me-up.
It might be surprising, but an actual serving of cheese is only about the size of 3 dice. It's approximately a quarter of a cup.
A serving of meat is the size of a deck of cards. It is a misconception most people have about meat when the thing the more the better. Protein does help give us energy, but meat is not the only source of protein out there.
Olive Oil or Salad Dressing:
These are things that should always be used sparingly. In fact, a serving is the size of a single poker chip. A little olive oil goes a long way and makes a great salad dressing itself with fresh basil, oregano and garlic added to it.
Do you find yourself filling up a big bowl of cereal in the morning only to end up drained by lunch. Start by passing on the sugary cereals and then be sure that you only have enough cereal to equal the size of a tennis ball.
See how simple items from everyday life can measure your portions for you? Now go, and eat healthy!
Tom Corson-Knowles is the founder of Authentic Health Coaching, an international health education company. Get Dr. Corson's Top 5 Nutrition Tips report for free at www.AuthenticHealthCoach.com