Living in a place where the “American diet” is always plentiful and often far from healthy, it can be difficult to resist temptation and stay on track with our diet. Surrounded by fast-food chains and sweet treats, if we indulge we’re generally being given a much larger portion than what we should be having. Portion sizes have drastically increased within the last 20 years. Only recently, restaurants have added nutrition facts and calorie counts for their food choices, so consumers can at least be aware of what they’re eating. Learning the correct serving size for each food group will help our bodies stay healthier and our minds happier. Familiarize yourself by looking at visuals of what proper serving sizes are. Every food and drink choice we make is important, that’s why we should focus on variety, portion control, and nutrition. An excellent dinner would include a plate half full with fruits and vegetables, a quarter whole grains, and a quarter of lean protein.
Portion control is essential, especially with foods that are high in solid fats and added sugars, where extra calories are found. Pizza and pasta are typical meals households eat, but how many people actually eat just a slice or a serving of pasta? Instead of eating a whole pizza by yourself, put a slice on your plate and fill a bowl with a colorful side salad or steamed vegetables. That way you still get the satisfaction of eating pizza, but without the extra guilt and calories. Here are some additional portion control tips and guidelines:
Portion Control Tips and Guidelines:
· To avoid over-eating, serve dinner from smaller plates and avoid going back for seconds.
· Ask for a to-go container at restaurants, and pack away half of your meal as soon as it arrives.
· Eat slowly. Doing so allows us to enjoy our food, and be more aware when we feel full.
If you’re interested in finding out if your current diet meets your nutrient needs, Supertracker is very helpful. Supertracker is an online weight tracking tool that allows you to record the foods you eat, and shows you if you’ve hit your recommendation for each food group according to your weight and age. Click on this link: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/tools-supertracker to create your own profile and start learning more about your diet today.
This blog is written by Tracy Zaniewski, a student intern of Valley Nutrition Counseling with a major in Nutrition at the University of Massachusetts Amherst