Through all the fad diets and gimmicks, portions still remain to be the tried and true when looking to lose weight and/or maintain a healthy diet. Whats become a little grey is our view on what an actual portion looks like. Since most of us underestimate our age and weight, it’s not surprising that how much we eat falls a bit short of what’s considered “normal.”
Starches and their Serving Sizes
I believe carbohydrates are very important in the everyday diet, but we definitely eat too many of them, in terms of size and portions. I keep in my office a plastic model of a chocolate chip cookie that measures 1-1/2 inches across. Everyone thinks it’s a mini cookie. Actually, it’s the size of what a normal cookie should look like–the size of the cookies your parents probably ate as kids. So here’s the proper serving size of some common starches:
Cooked white or brown rice: ½ cup
Couscous: ½ cup
Cooked pasta: ½ cup
Dry cereal: 1 cup
Popped popcorn: 3 cups
Bread: 1 small slice of bread (original Wonder Bread size)
½ english muffin
½ cup corn or peas (starches disguised as vegetables)
Let’s go back to circa 1960’s when dinner plates averaged 7-9 inches in diamater. Jump in your Delorian (Back to the Future Style) to 2012 and dinner plates are now 11-12 inches in diameter (some resturants 13 inches) . This increase estimates 25%-35% more food on your plate and the equavilant in pounds at the end of the year. Bowls, salad plates, coffee mugs, and wine glasses have grown in equal measure.
What do you do…
9-inches is the appropriate size for a dinner plate. Go vintage. Purchase smaller dinner plates, or eat your dinner off salad plates.
Larger plates can add an additional 300 to 400 calories to each meal! Perception is reality. Think about it—an appropriate portion of food on a 9- inch dinner plate would look sufficient. That same amount on a 12- inch dinner plate would look like a child’s portion.
We human beings are a lot like our pets. We eat until we clean the bowl. Smaller soup bowls translate to fewer calories. I promise you, you won’t go hungry.
Now that you have some good concrete info, I recommend taking a look at your daily diet and intake for a few days and jotting it down. Note portions and quantities.
I promise you’ll see a pattern. Then pick one tip from above and start to incorporate it into your daily diet. Small changes make BIG differences over time.
Changing the way you eat is a marathon, not a sprint.