In our last chapter we had learned about metabolism, now we’ll talk about something very important- Portion Control.
There are 3 points that we’ll discuss:
- Controlling Portion Size
- Portion Size is not the same as serving size.
- The nutrition facts label and My Plate guidelines are tools to help you choose healthy meals.
Let’s get started. .
My Plate Activity
Here’s a fun little activity, one that will be sure to help you out when dealing with portion sizes.
- First- Pass out a paper plate to each participant (not a paper platter)
- Second- Draw what they ate for dinner last night so that it fits on the plate. If it does and you still have plenty of room then you might need to eat a little more. If it doesn’t and you don’t have any room at all then you might need to cut back a little.
Portion Size Vs. Serving Size
- A Portion size is the amount of food that you decide to eat. You choose if it’s big or small.
- A Serving size is a measured amount of food or drink, such as one slice of bread or one cup (8oz) of milk.
Keep in mind:
- Many foods that come in as a single portion actually contain multiple servings.
- We tend to put more on our plate than we should.
- Larger Portions lead to an increase of calories, you might be putting more calories in your body than you need
That leads us back to our metabolism lesson- Extra calories that are not utilized are stored as body fat.
- The Nutrition Fact Labels on packaged food, or cans/ packages, can tell us the number of serving in the container (the serving size).
- Nutrition Labels also inform us about nutrient content such as how many calories, fats, protein, and sodium (salt) are inside the product.
- We can look at Nutrition labels on packaged food to see if the portion we serve ourselves is recommended on the serving size. (one person eating something that’s a serving size of 5 may not be healthy nor recommended).
Note– A packaged food usually has more than one serving, always check labels to avoid overeating.
- Sometimes a portion size is ALSO the recommended serving size.
A good thing to do is also check the ingredient lists. There could be a chance that your favorite drink or snack which you thought was healthy may have harmful ingredients. A popular one is high fructose corn syrup, not something you want to continue eat/drink on. If it is bad, there is always a substitute that may be a little healthier; maybe it doesn’t taste as great, or maybe it tastes better- either way it will be healthier for you.
Using ‘My Plate’ to eat healthy portions:
- It helps determine both serving size and portion size.
- Reduces total calories in your meal without reducing the amount of food you eat.
- Remember to use a normal, or small size plate (not giant plates/platters). The total number of calories that you eat counts, even if a good portion of them come from fruits and vegetables.
Tips and Tricks:
- In a restaurant, share the entrée with your partner to reduce total calories in your meal without reducing the amount of food/nutrients you eat.
- Eat a small 100 calorie snack (medium size apple, banana, 1 cup of blueberries, grapes, carrots, or broccoli). This will help you so you don’t overeat at your next meal.
- Eating a broth-based soup or green salad before a meal can help you exercise portion control and eat fewer calories.
- A portion size- amount of food you put on your plate (big or small)
- We can choose healthy portions by using My Plate as a guide for eating fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy.
- To find out content in food be sure to look at the Nutrition label. This will tell you how much calories, fats, vitamins, sodium. . etc.
Knowing portion sizes is a key weapon in fighting against obesity or reducing its risk, and knowing what is in your food can help you a lot. Just remember- this is a process. You may not see all the changes in one day, but as the days go on you’ll begin to. . So start by eating healthy and watching how much and what you eat!