The key to making good food choices is not simply what you eat, but how much you eat. The often overlooked aspect of the ‘Eating Equation’ is PORTION SIZE issue.
What should your portion size look like? According to the American Diabetes Association the following guidelines have been established as ONE SERVING:
– Meat, fish, poultry – 3-4oz. (about the size of a deck of cards)
– Cheese – 1 oz. (about the size of your thumb)
– Milk, yogurt, fresh vegetables – 1 cup (about the size of a tennis ball)
– Bread/whole wheat – one slice
– Rice or cooked pasta – 1/3 cup
– Potato or corn – 1/2 cup
– Dry cereal – 3/4 cup
While you can pay attention to portion sizes at home, it becomes another issue when you visit a restaurant. Some restaurants serve pasta in portions that can be up to 4-5 times the size of the standard guidelines. It might be alright to have a little more than 1/3 of a cup, but to have five times that is excessive. Restaurant trends today are to increase portion sizes and sometimes they double and triple the size of those same meals you would prepare at home. This increase in portion size and calories has continued since the 1980’s. (Young, Ph.D., and Nestle, Ph.D., NYU, Am J Public Health, 2002).
What can you do to resist this movement towards ‘unintentional’ overeating?
1. Restaurant: Plan on eating half of your meal and take the rest home
2. Home: do not place the serving dishes on the table
3. Restaurant: share a meal with your partner/guest
4. Home: read labels and find out what the serving size is for that food item
If you would like to ‘track’ your progress go to: www.myplate.gov at the top select ‘supertracker’ and set up a personal system to monitor your eating plan. Then select ‘physical activity’ and monitor your exercise.
Eat Well….Eat Smart…. Stay Active….Be Healthy!
by Dr. Andrew Paterna, South Windsor FOOD Alliance
Shop at the South Windsor Farmers Market
10am to 1pm Every Saturday June thru October