Thursday, June 18, 2009

There's No Denying It - Size Matters

Are you looking to shed some pounds but can't fathom becoming one of those people that weighs food, counts calories or deprives themselves of something they want?

We have all heard of portion control, but often times we are unaware of what proper serving sizes are and how to divide it on our plates.

In America, portions have continually grown over the years making it nearly impossible to remember what a healthy serving size actually was before the "super-size" era. Unfortunately, as our food portions have been super-sized so have our waistlines. In fact, many people don't need to diet, as much as they simply need to cut back the amount of food they are eating.

A woman in the UK created The Diet Plate® which has portion sizes drawn into the plate, taking away the guesswork that is often inaccurate. There is no need to count fat, calories or carbohydrates, as this plate does it for you by providing guidelines for calorie controlled portion sizes. In addition, this plate comes in a female and male version so portion sizes are altered accordingly.

What is an actual serving size?

To give you a frame of reference, this is the American Cancer Society's measuring stick for "normal" portion sizes:

~ 1oz meat: size of a matchbox
~ 3oz meat: size of a deck of cards or bar of soap. This is the recommended portion size.
~ 8oz meat: size of a thin paperback book
~ 3oz fish: size of a checkbook
~ 1oz cheese: size of 4 dice
~ medium potato: size of a computer mouse
~ 2Tbsp peanut butter: size of a ping pong ball
~ 1/2 cup pasta: size of a tennis ball
~ Average bagel: size of a hockey puck

That was eye-opening, I'm sure. I know when I go to my local bagel shop for breakfast, the bagels are much larger than a hockey puck. And I recently purchased potatoes from my local farmer's market, and they were double the healthy serving size.

Now, you don't need to rush right out and buy The Diet Plate® but it is a very novel idea, one that would help many realize just how much they are eating in comparison to what they should be eating. However, if you don't want your nightly dinner plate to resemble a food puzzle, here are a few more tips for controlling your portions:

Tip 1: When you eat out, ask for 1/2 your meal to be bagged before eating. This will ensure you don't "pick" at your food or eat too much. Instead, you can look forward to enjoying it again for lunch the following day.

Tip 2: Don't "eat from the bag" Instead, place a serving size in a bowl or on a plate to avoid overeating. Let's face it, it's just too easy to keep reaching back into the bag for more!

Tip 3: Share an entree with a friend when eating out. If you aren't a fan of leftovers (much like myself) sharing meals will ensure you don't overeat or waste food.

For more tips on portion sizing, as well as additional tips for portion control visit the ACS Web site. If you think all that information is too much to worry about, look into The Diet Plate®. It takes the guesswork away, and will help you on your journey to a healthier you!

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