Avoid Portion Distortion
The standard serving size of popular everyday food and drink has crept upward significantly in the last 30 or so years. Muffins these days are so large, you can carve them like a cake!
For us, this means we’re fuelling up with so much more calories than we realize, and unless we seriously increase our activity, super-size food will mean that we might grow into jumbo size versions of ourselves. If you don’t use the extra calories, you will store it as body fat.
You can’t live a healthy life without keeping your portion sizes in check. Overeating can lead to obesity, a contributing factor to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
Follow these guidelines to keep your portion sizes under control:
- Learn to read food labels. Check the number of servings in the package, note the calorie and fat content per serving. If the label on a large muffin indicates that one serving has 250 calories and 10 grams of fat, and the muffin contains two servings, then you’ll have eaten 500 calories and 20 grams of fat from that muffin.
- The 5 S’s of mindful eating. Sit down, smell, savour, slowly chew, smile. Enjoy what you eat, don’t just gobble your food down. Check in first, then dig in.
- Share a meal. If you’re dining out, order an appetizer and one meal you can share with someone else. For dessert, order one dessert and extra spoons. This way you’ll avoid overeating.
- Eat half or less. If you don’t share, eat half of what you ordered and take the rest home to enjoy as another meal.
- Use a smaller plate. Serve your meals on smaller plates at home. It will look full, but you’ll be eating less.
- Slow down and skip second helpings. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to signal that your tank is full. Eat one reasonable serving and chew your food thoroughly. Give yourself time to digest and serve more food if you are really still hungry.
- Harmless hack: Hydrating. Your stomach can’t tell the difference between hunger and thirst. Drink about 2 litres of water daily, more if you are very active. Proper hydration keeps your body functioning optimally, and having a glass of H2O before you eat can help fill you up so you don’t overdo the eating.
- Make sense of portion sizes by using hand symbols as guidelines.
The more control you practice, the more you can eat your favourite foods!
Lastly, don’t deprive yourself. A small portion can be just as satisfying as a big helping. By allowing yourself conscious indulgences, you won’t feel that you’re restricting yourself.
By Letitia Kleynhans