“Portion Distortion” is a real problem these days, and it is one of the reasons Americans have been gaining so much weight over the years. In today’s food environment extra large servings of food have become the norm. We have all gotten used to eating larger portions of food without realizing it! Unfortunately, most of us haven’t increased our physical activity levels to compensate for the larger portions, so all the more reason to sharpen our portion control skills. If you are trying to lose weight or just want to have a healthier diet, portion control is key. Take a look at some of these pictures to see how easily portions can get out of hand.
Even apples these days are getting bigger! While apples of all shapes and sizes are a healthy snack, people who are trying to lose weight or need to keep their carbs in check, may want to stick with the smaller apples. The large apple on the left has almost as many carbs as three slices of bread! Pair a small apple with a slice of cheese or 1 tablespoon of peanut butter for a nutritious snack.
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Bagels come in all different shapes, flavors and sizes, but a savvy bagel eater should know the difference in calories and carbs too! Check out the bagels below to see which one would fit your calorie and carb budget for the day. Some bagels have as many carbs as 4 slices of bread! For most of us, a mini bagel is the better option for portion control. Top with light cream cheese or peanut butter for a filling snack or breakfast.
Potatoes are economical nutrition powerhouses, high in potassium, vitamin C and fiber, but they can also provide a lot of calories and carbs. Choose your potatoes wisely! The large potato on the left might be a good option for a runner who needs to fill up on carbs before a race. However, the smaller potato is probably a better choice for most of us couch potatoes. For a healthier way to do potatoes, try roasted red potatoes with herbs and olive oil. A good portion control tip for roasted potatoes is to keep them to 1-2 cups per meal, as that’s about 30-60 grams of carbohydrates.
A small serving of chocolate, such as the “fun size” candy bar below can be a portion savvy way to satisfy your sweet tooth. However, beware of large candy bars! The large candy bar pictured below has more fat than a fried chicken sandwich and more calories than an order of fries. So if you have to buy the extra large candy bar, be sure to share it with a friend or break it into smaller servings.
Portion Control Tips
Practice these 5 tips to keep yourself from getting tricked by portion distortion.
- Use smaller bowls, plates and cups when eating at home.
- Pre-portion snacks from their original packages into single servings using snack size baggies or food storage containers.
- Buy smaller versions of your favorite foods. For instance, mini bagels versus large bagels, bite sized candy instead of full sized candy.
- Order kids’ meals or smaller sizes when eating out.
- Pack half your restaurant meal to go before eating and only leave half on your plate to eat at the restaurant.
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