Sunday, August 23, 2009

Eat Smart: Avoid Portion Distortion!

A successful nutrition program requires that you assess your current habits to see where your nutritional strengths lie (things that you are easily doing well on a daily basis) and where your weaknesses occur (barriers or triggers to poor nutritional habits). This will help you see where you could make some improvements and where you need to do some more homework to improve your nutritional knowledge.
Assess your portion sizes
If you haven’t grabbed a meal in a fast food restaurant in the last ten years that you are not likely to have noticed that food portions have gotten larger. Some portions (like French fries, and sodas) are called "super size," while others have simply grown in size and provide enough food for at least two adults. No small wonder that kids eating fast food have shown alarming increases in waistlines and body weight.
Portion sizes of foods have increased by over 250% over the last 20 years!
• A 3 inch bagel, 140 kcal has been transformed into a 6 inch bagel 200% larger, ringing in at just over 350 kcal. This is 200 more calories than a bagel 20 years ago!
• A 1-cup (250 mL) portion of spaghetti with 3 meatballs 20 years ago had 500 calories. Today's typical portion of spaghetti and meatballs has 1,025 calories. This includes 2 cups of pasta with sauce and 3 large meatballs. This is 525 more calories than a portion 20 years ago!
• A turkey sandwich 20 years ago had 320 calories. Today's 10-inch turkey sandwich has 820 calories. This is 500 calories more than a portion 20 years ago!
Many of today's coffee houses make coffee based drinks and sell so called healthy snacks with a sugar/calorie laden punch.
• A standard cup of coffee 20 years ago was 250 mL (8 ounces) and had 45 calories. Today’s 16 ounce cup of specialty coffee with flavouring and whipped cream (frappuccino) has 350 calories. This is 305 calories more than a cup of coffee 20 years ago.
• A muffin 20 years ago was 50 grams (1.5 ounces) and had 210 calories. Today's 120-150 gram (5 ounce) muffin has 500 calories. This is 310 calories more than muffin 20 years ago
How can you get some control over your portion sizes so that you are eating an appropriate amount of food AND feeling satisfied in this time of overblown offerings for your taste buds?
Recent research has discovered that the sense of satisfaction from eating is the same regardless of the size of the plate, bowl, cup or the amount of food or drink actually consumed. So eating your food from a bowl or plate AND using smaller dishes is an easy way to decrease portion sizes while still feeling that you have eaten enough.

Appropriate sizes for a set of heart healthy dishes are:
• Dinner plate = 23 cm diameter
• Soup, cereal bowl 250 mL (1 cup)
• Drinking glass 175 mL (3/4 cup)
• Mug 250 mL (1 cup)
• Dessert bowl 175 mL (3/4 cup)
• Wine glass 125 mL (1/2 cup)

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