After spending the indulgent holidays, it is natural to gain some weight. Maybe you are having a tough time catching your breath when using the stairs or simply don’t feel well. If you are considering becoming healthier, now is the right time. The first baby step you can take to improve your health is monitoring your food portions.
You need to do more than simply eat a healthy combination of meals to keep your weight under control. You should also consider the kind of foods you consume and how much you consume at a given moment. This article can assist you in determining how much food you require. It will also teach you how to limit food portions so that you may eat only what you need.
How Much Should You Eat?
To maintain a healthy weight, you need to balance the calories you consume and the calories you burn. More active individuals may burn more calories. Being more active can help you burn off and balance out the calories you have taken in.
There is no one-size-fits-all calorie burning or physical activity that will help everyone lose weight and keep it off. Your daily calorie requirement depends on your age, genes, sex, weight, and amount of physical activity. For instance, a 150-pound woman who burns a lot of calories many times a week via strenuous physical exercise may need to eat more calories than a woman of comparable size who is generally sedentary and only goes for a brief walk once a week.
In general, the recommended daily calorie intake for women is 2,000 calories, and for men, it is 2,500 calories. It can be quite cumbersome to have veggies and lean protein simply because you do not like the taste. You can try out different recipes online. If you are particular with foods, you can get some inspiration and ideas from the picky eater blog.
The Difference Between a Serving and a Portion
The amount of food mentioned on the food label of a product is the serving size. It varies from product to product. Whether in a restaurant or at home, the amount of food you choose to eat at one time is known as a portion. Sometimes the serving and portion sizes are the same, and sometimes they aren’t.
The serving sizes on food labels may or may not be the same as the portion sizes you eat. For instance, one cup of macaroni and cheese is one serving, according to its packaging label. However, if you whip up a huge bowl of macaroni and cheese for yourself, that quantity will be far larger than one serving.
The same phenomenon applies when you treat yourself to a large bowl of cereal for breakfast. The portion you choose to eat should be determined by the serving size mentioned on the food packaging.
How to Use the Nutrition Facts on the Food Label
The Nutrition Facts label (food label) is printed on most packaged goods by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The nutritional information on the label shows you how many calories, protein, sodium (salt), fat, and other nutrients are in one serving of food. The majority of packaged goods include more than one serving.
You need to bear in mind that the serving size mentioned on the food label is not the recommended amount of food to eat. It is just a fast way to let you know how many calories and nutrients are present in a certain amount of food. Depending on your age, weight, sex, and activity level, the serving size may be more or less than the amount you should eat.
Serving Size and Servings Per Container
Check the “servings per container” indicated on the label to find how many servings a package has. It is usually mentioned at the very top of the label.
Suppose you come across a package stating it has two servings but the serving size is one cup. This means that if you consume the entire box or package, you need to multiply the number of nutrients and calories by two to find out the total calorie intake. For instance, if the product has stated 250 calories per serving, the calorie intake would be 500 calories.
How to Keep Track of How Much You Are Eating?
A food journal is a useful tool for keeping track of how much you consume. Jot down and keep track of when you eat, what you eat, how much you eat, where you consume it, and why you eat it. Doing this can assist you in being more conscious of how much you are eating and when you are prone to overeating. A meal diary can be kept in a notebook, on your phone, or a computer.
You are one step toward controlling your food portion by checking food labels for calories per serving. Simply remember to keep track of the following:
- What food you will eat
- At what time you will eat
- Where you will eat
- Why you are eating (Besides hunger, one can eat when bored or have cravings)
- The amount of food you will eat
You can download apps available for smartphones to help you keep a record of how much you eat and how much physical activity you get each day.
If you find yourself eating even when you are not hungry, consider diverting your attention away from food by doing something else. For example, call or visit a friend, take a break and go for a stroll around the block.
If you are at work and if you have the means, try a healthy alternative like a piece of fruit, a handful of almonds, or carrot sticks and hummus. Using your tracker will make you aware of when and why you eat fewer healthy meals and beverages. This knowledge might aid you in making better food decisions in the future.
How to Control Portions at Home
You don’t have to measure and count everything you eat for the rest of your life. Simply do it long enough to become familiar with the standard serving sizes. To help you regulate portions at home, try the following suggestions:
- Instead of eating directly from a huge box or bag, take the quantity of food that equals one serving according to the product label and eat it off a plate.
- Avoid eating in front of the television or while doing other activities. Pay attention to what you are eating, chew thoroughly, and take in all of the aromas and flavors. Just avoid eating mindlessly.
- Slowly eat to allow your brain to detect when your stomach is full.
- You can try using smaller plates, bowls, and glasses. When you fill-up your plate or glass in this manner, you will eat and drink less.
- You should control how much of the higher-fat, higher-calorie elements of a meal you consume. Instead of sweets and entrees with heavy sauces, have seconds of vegetables and salads (be mindful with the dressing and toppings).
- When preparing large batches of food, freeze the food that will not be served right away. This way, you can prevent yourself from devouring the entire batch before the food spoils. It is a great way to control your food temptations.
Freeze leftovers in portions that can be used for a single serving or a family dinner the next day. By doing this, you can also have ready-to-eat meals for another day.
- Try to have meals at regular times. If you skip meals or leave long periods between meals, you will tend to eat more food the next time you eat.
- Opt for fruits or single-serving prepackaged foods with low calories when buying snacks. Divide the food into single-serve containers immediately if you purchase larger boxes or bags of snacks. This will curb your temptations to overeat.
- If you are treating yourself with indulgent foods like ice cream or chips, measure out only one serving as stated in the food labeling. Consume only a half cup of ice cream or one ounce of chips. Chew and eat them slowly. Savor the taste, enjoy them, and live in the moment.
How to Manage Portions When Eating Out
It can be a bit tricky to control your portions when you consume food outside your home. You can try out some of these tips when you are eating out.
- You can take half your meal home or share your meal with a friend.
- Try avoiding all-you-can-eat buffets. Choose restaurants that provide healthy food options in controlled portions.
- Instead of a whole meal, you can order one or two healthy appetizers or side dishes. It is wise to go for a grilled or steamed protein like salmon or chicken instead of fried dishes. Roasted vegetables and refreshing salads like sweet cherry and vegetable summer salad are great choices as well.
When you want to adopt a healthy lifestyle, the most effective way is to control your food intake. You can easily control your portions with the nutrition and servings labeled on the food packaging. Using a food tracking app or a journal can also help you keep track of your food consumption. Simply eating healthy can effectively help you achieve your health goals.