Monday, October 18, 2010

"The Talk:" Serving Sizes

In life, there are a few conversations we dread. For instance...

"I don't think we should date anymore."
"I might have very accidentally used your toothbrush."
and the oft-dodged... "Why are the doggies giving each other piggy back rides?"

Right up there on the list....THE SERVING SIZE TALK.

I know how this topic feels. It feels all, "They say eat healthy, I'll eat healthy. But THEN they want me to eat healthy PLUS measure my peanut butter and it's STICKING TO THE SPOON and I'm HUNGRY and RAAAARRRRR!"

At least, this is how it sometimes can feel to me. If it does not feel like this to you, please forget you read the previous statement.

I've learned to preface this talk with a promise:
Yes, large portions of even "healthy" foods can undo your health goals.
Yes, there are some foods that you can eat and eat...measuring cups be damned!

For the foods that require a little more portion attention, I have a few standard visuals I use:
  • 1, 3 0z serving meat= about the thickness and size of a deck of cards
  • 1 serving cheese = 1 oz, or about four dice stacked
  • 1 serving ice cream, pasta/rice = 1/2 c. Think tennis ball.
  • 1 serving potatoes = 1/2 c, or about the size of your computer mouse (okay, so that one is stretching)
  • 1 serving margarine= 1 tsp= 1 dice
  • 1 serving peanut butter= 2 Tbsp= ping pong ball

Meat, dairy, carbohydrates, and fats/oils are really the food groups requiring attention to portion size. Beyond that, I've always lived by the theory that nothing bad ever came from filling up on greens and veggies. Produce packs fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, yet is low in calories. When it comes to these, the more we eat, the better!

This theory can be especially helpful when applied to eating our favorite meals that may be high in carbohydrates (spaghetti!). Don't ditch that meal! Portion yourself a reasonable amount of spaghetti. The trick is...stick with your original judgment on portion size. Resist the urge to go back for more. If you're not quite satisfied, eat, eat! Fill up on a fresh salad, or a big ol' side of steamed/lemon peppered veggies. Follow with a fruit for dessert!

Alright. We did it. We had "The Talk." This calls for a glass of wine, lickety-split.

I'm curious to hear about your portion size habits. Do you pay attention to portion size? Are there certain foods you avoid because your portions tend to get massive? Peanut butter is my big one (couldn't have guessed, right?!). I've found that it's better for me to avoid altogether. Instead, I buy the peanut flour from Trader Joe's, and reconstitute with a little water and salt (a trick I learned from Emily). Delicious, good source of protein, and lower in fat/calories. Because there are a few monsters that just can't be tamed...


Peace, Love, and Veggies,

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