Updated: Feb 6
With so many food choices, social gatherings, food accompanied business meetings and the feeling of temptation all around how can we maintain a healthy dietary balance? It starts with understanding portion sizes.
Did you know... the average portion size of today is nearly double what it was just 20 years ago? That's staggering! What about those mini and jumbo serving sizes being marketed everywhere? You may be surprised to find that the "mini" bagel you see on the shelf is actually a single serving size portion, whereas the bagel we now define as "standard size" is actually the jumbo, and the item being labeled as "jumbo size" is nearly double that!
On top of our increased food portions it may surprise you to learn the average beverage contains 2 - 3 servings, and at 140 - 300 calories each and those calories can add up quick. Is it any wonder why we are seeing more and more folks struggle with healthy choices and dietary balance...how do you know how much you are really consuming? By taking the guesswork out of managing our diet and making healthier choices! It's time to bring it back to basics by educating ourselves on portion sizes.
Let's enjoy our food and experiences more and stress less so we can set ourselves up for a long and healthy life!
Sound like a chore? Have a plan and reduce the mental chore. Going out of town? Decide what snacks you can bring along to support you. Attending a social gathering? Ask what a healthy dish is you can bring to share. Have a day full of meetings? Arm yourself with a healthy lunch and snacks. Staving at the end of a long day? Reach for foods that will leave you feeling satisfied and not stuffed. When you take a moment to stop and think about the choices that come with each of these scenarios you are able to set your self up for healthy success - so you can stress less and enjoy moments more!
Tips on loading your plate:
See where your calories are going
Remember the divided plates you had as a kid? Or those lunch trays that created a space for each food group? Bring it back to basics at home by dividing your plate into quarters and divvy up those portions of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins. You will support a well-balanced diet by eating from the 4 main food groups while also signaling to the brain you have plenty of choices in front of you, leaving you much more satisfied.
Add a pop of color
Studies show when people eat from colorful plates (vs. the boring old white or beige) they actually feel happier and more fulfilled by what they are consuming. Wait, did we just say eating can be fun?? Yes! Try tossing some salad on a small orange plate, pouring a serving of soup in a bright red bowl or serving your lean meat on nice a blue plate. When you mix and match your dinnerware you actually stimulate the senses, making it satisfying for mind and spirit too!
Did you know the average dinner plate used to be 9" in diameter? Today we are serving food up on plates ranging from 12 - 16"! This creates 2 problems - 1. when you fill a larger plate with a true portion size you look at the plate feeling deprived, why is there so little on the plate? 2. Fill that plate to it's capacity and you are consuming twice and sometimes even triple the amount of a standard serving size! Solution? Go with a smaller plate (which is also actually is that true serving size) and this in turn signals the brain with happiness, satisfaction and helps you feel full faster.
Pre-portion snacks and treats
Late night snacking is sneaky! We sit down in front of the computer, television or on the patio visiting with friends and loved ones and before you know it you are craving a little something. Instead of grabbing a whole bag of popcorn and chips, mindlessly munching on cookies out of the box or eating straight out of the ice cream pint divvy up a single serving. Small bowls, plates, and ramekins are perfect for snack time as they often come in 1/2 - 1 C sizes. End the "how much did I just eat?" conundrum by establishing guidelines.... when your bowl or dish is empty snack time is done!
Simplify on busy days
Have a busy day of errands or back to back meetings ahead? Be ready with some "power food" combinations to keep your energy up as you race through the day! Try unsalted nuts mixed with dried fruit in a snack size ziplock bag, a single serving container or nonfat Greek yogurt with some pre-washed/sliced fruit, pre-washed/sliced veggies with appropriate pre portioned servings of hummus or 1 whole grain slice of bread with a single serving of natural peanut butter. Having healthy on the ready in ready-to-go portion sized containers (such as snack size ziplocks and single serving tupperware containers) is a great way to prepare for busy days and keep those mindless munchies at bay.
Plan for fun
When you get to that bbq, happy hour, friends or family dinner take a quick overview of all the food and beverage choices in front of you and decide what you really want. Instead of sampling a little bit of everything, choose a few of your favorite things and enjoy those in realistic portion sizes, while filling the remainder of your plate with more nutrient dense choices. This helps take the focus off the food and put it back on the experience - visiting with friends and family and enjoying the atmosphere! You will also find by enjoying a few favorite things instead of too much of too many things you will leave feeling more satisfied rather than guilty, uncomfortably stuffed or bloated.
Share the wealth of health
Next time you are headed to a social gathering whip up a healthy dish to share! Not only will you be supporting your own health goals, but you'll be sharing the gift of health with those you care about too! Not sure where to start? Check out a few of our healthy eating recipes here on the Mind + Body Elite Blog.
Think before you drink
Beverages go down fast and are often laden with empty calories, sugar and salt. Alcoholic drinks are some of the worst offenders - some mixed drinks can run as high as 1,500 calories per drink! Cut down on those empty calories by watering down the juice or mixers, utilizing no or low calorie add ins such as fresh fruits and herbs, sparkling water or club soda, and be mindful of just how much is in your glass - those ounces add up quick!
Bring it back to the basics with fresh fruits and veggies. They are not only fresh and full of flavor, but naturally lower in calories too! Loaded with essential vitamins and minerals you can do a body good in more ways than one and because many are a great source of dietary fiber and water they will satisfy your senses and your belly. Get creative and toss together a fresh summer salad with a mixture of greens and berries or throw a variety of sliced fruit and fresh berries in a bowl for a quick fruit salad, or enjoy some crisp in season veggies with your favorite low calorie hummus.
Remember part of a sustaining a healthy diet comes from a well-balanced plate! Portion control helps takes the guess work out of how much we are eating, helping us make healthier choices for mind, body and spirit. Raising awareness empowers us to enjoy food more and stress less by establishing healthy habits for life!
Are you tired of starting over every Monday, struggling with willpower, and hopping from diet to diet, wondering if you'll ever get it right so that you can lose weight, get healthy, fit and feel like you again? Come join me inside my free women-only Facebook Community - Slim & Trim with Coach Mindy. It's for women who are ready to ditch boring diets forever and create sustainable habits for weight loss, enjoying balanced food and fitness, so that they can lose weight, live healthy, and become the best version of themselves!