I went to France recently and was blown away by the food and the fashion there. It seemed that despite the croissants, pain au chocolats, and champagne, majority of men and women there were in fantastic shape! By the end of my stay in Paris I finally understood. Their secret lay in portion sizing.
Our perception of portion sizing has grown significantly over the years and become distorted by placing value-for-money ahead of nutrition (just think of those all-you-can-eat buffets and the fountain drinks at fast food chains).
Many of us don’t realize how much we put on our plates, and it turns out that many of us are underestimating how much they eat by as much as 25 percent! This underestimation can often be the difference between losing or gaining a pound a week.
Getting a good understanding of portion sizing can be an easy way to stay on track with your weight goals. Here are six easy portion sizing references to help keep you (and your waistline) in check.
We start the day with it - but how much do we really need? If you are using your cereal bowl as a guide, chances are you are pouring too much. Even if you choose a healthy, high fiber cereal like muesli, the calories and carbohydrates can quickly add up. Stick to about half a cup of granola.
When it comes to snacking, less is more - and even nuts which are a nutritious snack still need to be portion controlled! Stick to a small, closed handful once a day instead of an overflowing handful or a full bowl. The same goes for nut butters, spread two tablespoons instead of four.
I definitely have a love-hate relationship with pasta, but I have learnt to enjoy it in moderation. When it comes to pasta, instead of making it the star of the meal, try making it the supporting role. Instead of covering your entire dish with it, choose to fill one quarter of your plate with it, or have it as a side dish.
This is one exception where more is better! You can never have too many vegetables. They are packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. In fact, most of us don’t consume enough of it, with majority of us not hitting the recommended intake of vegetables daily (which is around two and a half servings). Try to load up on a full plate of greens, reds and yellows during lunch and dinner.
Every now and then, it is nice to indulge in some dessert - and the secret to indulging right is the amount we indulge in! Don’t be tempted to eat straight out of the tub, and choose to have one scoop instead of three. Throw on some fresh fruit or dark chocolate and use a small spoon to mindfully savor.
Challenge yourself. Be a degustation menu at a 3-star Michelin restaurant instead of an all-you-can-eat drive through diner. Purchase smaller serving dishes and slowly reduce your portions. Learn to savor food and enjoy it - and choose to have a small amount of quality ingredients over large amounts of poor quality foods.
In good health.