If there’s one thing about nutrition that I consistently promote, it’s the fact that portions matter. It’s simple advice alright, but judging by our expanding waistlines and the research suggesting that many of us underestimate the amount of calories we eat (especially when it comes to fatty, sugary or salty processed foods), it’s advice that may be challenging to follow.
Portions matter! The larger they are, the more you’re calories you eat. If you eat more than you burn off, you will gain weight and increase your risk of developing diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. In order to improve your health, you must monitor your portion sizes. But first, we must discuss the difference between a portion size and a serving size. They’re not the same.
A serving size is the amount of food recommended that you eat while a portion is the food that you actually eat. Serving size is generally out of your control as it is predetermined in the literature and by food manufacturers. Portion control on the other hand is 100% within your control because you determine how much to eat.
To help you assess just how much you are eating, I am sharing with you two resource that I created:
Your Hand Your Guide: Also known as the “Zimbabwe Hand Jive “(Woot Woot for my Zimbos out there) this tool uses your hand as a guide for estimating portions
A fun video showing you what 200 calories of African favorite foods look like.(Get ready to be amazed)!
Finally I’m serious about controlling portions.
Here are 7 things you could start doing today to cut down on how much you eat.
- Eat from a smaller plate: Turns out larger plates trick us into putting more food on our plates
- Avoid getting seconds. Tell the truth, how many times in the last week did you get a second helping because the food tasted fantastic and not because you were still hungry? Most of the times we add more food to our plates not because we’re hungry but because the food was good and available.
- Clear away the dishes from the table and stove as soon as possible. It reduces the temptation of eating upon sight of food. Out of sight….out of mind! Right?
- Eat less processed grains, sugar, salt and/or fatty foods
- Enjoy more fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains and lean proteins
- Share a plate. Remember the communal plate? The one when 2 or more people ate from the same plate? I think that was one of the most brilliant forms of portion control….especially if more than 3 people are eating together.
- Portion it out. When you eat directly from the package, you eat more. Take a small portion of the food you want to eat and eat it from a bowl.
I want to know. What are some of the challenges you face when it comes to healthy eating and how can I help you solve them? Leave a comment below to let me know.
Here’s to your health!