Over the past 20-30 years, portion sizes of everything from pizza to muffins have increased an average of two to five times.
When researchers at the University of North Carolina analyzed data from food surveys conducted in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and the past decade, they concluded that the average daily calorie intake of a U.S. citizen increased from 1,803 in 1977–78 to 2,374 in 2003-06.
Large quantities of cheap food have distorted our idea of what proper portions are supposed to be. We also see a heaping serving of food as a bargain. The overload is happening everywhere—fast food restaurants, fine dining, and coffee shops.
Below are some strategies we can use to reduce our calorie intake
See Red: Try serving dinner on a red plate. A 2012 study discovered that people consumed less when food was served on a red plate, and they drank smaller amounts from a red cup.
Downsize: Research proves that downsizing plates, bowls and drink glasses can play a big role in portion control. Also, use smaller serving spoons.
Size It Up: Read nutrition labels and pay close attention to how serving sizes are defined. Often what we consider as a serving size is much larger than the manufacturer.
Rise and Dine: Eating breakfast can help control appetite and regulate food intake throughout the day. A high-protein breakfast is particularly effective at reducing hunger.
Scale Back: Weigh (digital scale) and measure (measuring cups) portions. This will help keep portions in line with what is stated on nutrition labels.
Stave Off Snack Attacks: A grumbling stomach can also chip away at willpower. Take back control by making sure you eat something every few hours.
Pay Attention: Eat your meals and snacks in the kitchen or dining room, not on the couch in front of the television or computer.
Chew on This: In today’s fast-paced world, many of us wolf down our food. Pacing oneself gives the gut and brain enough time to register satiety signals.
Slice Away Calories: Slice up items like steak, chicken and potatoes into smaller portions before putting them on serving plates.
Choose True Grit: Fiber-rich foods slow down digestion and minimize blood sugar fluctuations. Including these foods into snacks and meals will boost satiety and tame hunger.
Keep Your Distance: Keep extra food away from the dining table. Dole out a portion of food onto a plate or into a bowl and then place the rest in the refrigerator.
Eat Your Calories: It’s important that most of your daily calories come from solid food.
Be the Chef: Portions served out at restaurants have been growing over the last several decades. When you leave the food prep to someone else, you always raise the risk of getting more calories than you bargained for.
Know the Real Deal: Low-fat items can trick you into thinking you’re eating less than you are.
For more information about changing your eating habits, contact Janet Hunt, ACE certified Health Coach.
By: Janet Hunt