Making Sense of Serving Sizes

When it comes to eating sensibly, it’s not always WHAT we eat, but HOW MUCH we eat. Most
Americans underestimate their food intake and overestimate physical activity, resulting in a
positive energy balance (aka weight gain)! Even the most nutrient-dense foods, when consumed
in excess, can contribute to weight gain.

How to stay on track
Don’t “eyeball” it
With over 10 years of experience as a registered dietitian, it is even hard for me to “eyeball” certain foods. Take the extra time and measure. Measuring cups, measuring spoons and a food scale are your ticket to losing or maintaining weight!

Write it before you eat it
What did you have for breakfast this morning? You may or may not remember. That is why keeping a food log is so important. And getting into a habit of logging it before you eat it is key. You know that handful of chocolate candies you ate on the way back to your desk? You probably don’t! It is hard to remember all of the foods and drinks we consume throughout the day – but keep in mind that they all count toward your daily calories!

Be satisfied with less
The first bite of something is always the best. But as we continue to make our way through a big piece of cake, it isn’t AS enjoyable as that first bite. However, there are as many calories in the last bite as there were in the first. Instead of just shoveling food in your mouth, truly be aware of what and how much you are eating.

Re-portion your portion
Right now you are most likely overeating all of your portions. Without changing the specific foods that you eat, just cut everything in half (BEFORE you start eating). When you are done with the first portion, step away and decide if you are really still hungry. If you are still hungry, even if it’s an hour from now, go ahead and finish the other portion. If not, you just saved some extra calories!

Eat and enjoy!
Most importantly, ENJOY your food. Do not eat anything because someone tells you it is healthy. It is important to eat foods that you enjoy. But do understand that you do have a nutrition bank account, and you want to make the most of your funds. So if you spend most of your allowance on food that is not nutritious, you are short-changing your health. Try to achieve an 80/20 balance: Mmake better-for-you choices 80 percent of the time, but allow yourself a little leeway the other 20 percent!

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