Just in time to catch the end of the holiday eating season and the beginning of the new year’s resolution season, one more comment on why America is overweight. (If you want to see the whole series on “Why America is overweight.” click here to go back to part I https://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/why-is-america-overweight/
Along with cheese, liquid calories, and diet soda, add portion size to the obesity puzzle. Why are food portions larger than they were 30 or even 20 years ago? Restaurants and fast food places over time have made their portions larger, either by just plain giving a larger serving, or making “meal deals” that make it less expensive to buy more food. (https://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2010/09/02/do-you-want-a-gallon-of-soda-with-that-americans-love-affair-with-food/) And if we buy it of course we’re going to eat it. What drives this change? Some theorize that restaurants began serving larger potions because they believe that is what their customers want. In part, it may be due to people wanting to “get their money’s worth.” In addition, as younger chefs and cooks take over for their older counterparts, they serve larger portions because they grew up eating larger portions. Another contributor is “all you can eat” buffets – Old Country Buffet, and the like. Buffet restaurants prepare food in such bulk that they can afford to allow customers to eat large quantities, and still make money.
So what’s a person to do with food so plentiful for most of us, and restaurants dishing up more food than we need to eat for a typical meal? Restaurants aren’t going to help us any time soon by giving us smaller portions. You’ll have to take control of your own portion size if you want to lose or maintain your weight. Here’s a few tips to try.
Ask for a take out container when your food is served. When your food arrives, take one-quarter to one-half of it off your plate (depending on what you’re eating and how large the portion is) and set it aside in the take-out box. Then eat the remaining food. If you find you’re still hungry when you’re done, you can always dip into the take-out box, but many people will find that the partial serving was enough.
Avoid “meal deals” and coupons. Even though these save you money, if you have to buy more food than you need to eat, it’s not worth it, unless you really are going to take it home to eat for another meal.
Try the ‘plate” method of portion control. Take a 9-inch dinner plate and draw an imaginary
line across the middle, so it is divided in half. Add another imaginary line across one half. Now your plate is divided into one half and two quarters. The half is for non-starchy vegetables. One quarter is for starch/carbs – bread, rice, potato, pasta or corn. The other quarter is for protein. A 3-ounce piece of meat, chicken, fish will typically fit in this spot. This is easy to do at home but you can even do it when eating out, by putting whatever does not fit into your imaginary sections into your take-out box. Click the link to get a full explanation with pictures of the plate method of portion control. http://www.nyc.gov/html/hhc/diabetes/html/eat/portion_control.shtml
What works for you? What do you do to avoid over-eating and keep those weight-loss new year resolutions?
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