This Week’s RainTask

Although it’s widely known that most Americans don’t adhere to proper portion sizes, most of us still fall victim to the pitfalls of the modern food industry. With the ever-expanding meals, snacks, and beverages being sold to us at every turn, it has become too easy to misjudge portion sizes and overeat. Eating over-sized portions on a regular basis can contribute to weight gain and other health issues. Here are some tips to battle the barrage of super-sized offerings and stick to proper portion sizes.

  • Cook at home - A study conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that portion sizes have grown tremendously over the past 20 years, especially at restaurants. A glaring example of this increase is the all-American hamburger, which has grown in size by 23 percent. A plate of food at your favorite Mexican restaurant may be as much as 27 percent bigger. To top it off, soft drink and snack sizes have expanded by as much as 60 percent.  Making your meals at home means you have better control of your portion sizes, no not mention the amount of sodium and unhealthy fats that are added to your meals.

  • Use smaller plates - Plate size can be a contributing factor in portion control.  Using a smaller plate can encourage appropriate portion sizing while keeping your minds eye content with a full plate.  The utilization of bigger plates and bowls may lead you to pile on more food than you intend.

  • Use portion guidelines: A ratio of ½ vegetables, ¼ protein, ¼ starch on your plate at every meal will help you eat more of the foods that are higher in nutrients and fiber, and lower in calories.

  • Eat slowly - Taking your time to chew and eat can do your body good, as well. Eating slower leads to better digestion and gives time for your brain to receive signals from your stomach that you are full. Keep in mind that the goal is to satisfied, but not to stuffed.

  • Drink a glass of water before each meal - Filling your stomach with water before eating can help your body determine the difference between hunger and thirst.  According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan, poor hydration among adults is associated with a higher body mass index (BMI).  It is easy to confuse hunger cues with thirst cues, so start with water before eating and reevaluate those cues before digging in. Additionally, water takes up room in your stomach and will therefore dissuade you from overeating.