Portion distortion is something which has arisen over the past few decades. Soft drink cans and bottles are larger, meal deals offer an ‘upsize’ for only an extra dollar, we have an option to get the thicker slice of bread rather than the regular ‘sandwich’ slice and what about the size of a slice of cake? Our portions are growing and sadly this is leading us into the misconception of what an ideal portion looks like.
Our activity levels are heading in the opposite direction. Today incidental exercise has reduced, more of us have sedentary jobs such as desk jobs and we have busy lifestyles so regular exercise is being missed. Unfortunately this, along with our larger portions of food is resulting in our waistlines growing and chronic disease such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease on the rise. Half an hour of moderate exercise (such as a brisk walk) is recommended five times per week for health, try breaking it up into three 10 minute sessions per day if you cannot fit in the entire half hour at once. Try and increase your incidental exercise with some of the suggestions below:
- Take the stairs instead of the lift
- Wash your car (don’t pay someone to do this)
- Do some gardening and mow the lawns
- Do the house cleaning
- Get up and walk around between ad breaks when watching TV
- Park your car further away from the shops
- Get off the bus a stop earlier and walk the extra distance
Back to portions.... Many of us may have seen the plate detailing how much and what we need on a plate. Aiming for half the plate (about 2 cups) to be full of non starch (low calorie) vegetables, a quarter of the plate (about 150g) to be protein, such as meat/chicken/fish/eggs/tofu and a quarter of the plate (about 1 cup) to be carbohydrates, such as starchy vegetables/pasta/rice.
It can get difficult to portion this out correctly and some of us may not want to use a plastic plate with pictures on them detailing where to put our food to make it easier and remind us of portion control. Well take a look what I found, http://www.preciseportions.com/ a genius idea of a regular porcelain plate with vines across it portioning out our segments for our foods, but to everyone else it just looking like a great plate design. So when you are entertaining you will not need to explain to your guests why your plate has pictures of vegetables and meat on it. Also if you click on the tab on the webpage ‘Play with the plate’ you can play around with the plate and decide what foods goes where which will give you more of an understanding of what protein, carbohydrates and non starchy vegetables are.
Along with using a plate, some other tips which will help to reduce and manage your portions include:
- Choose the entree size at a restaurant and share the dessert
- Never ‘upsize’ a meal
- Choose ‘small’, such as a small coffee
- Buy single serve foods rather than the pack
- Use a smaller plate at home to serve meals on
Reducing your portions and maintaining portion control lifelong along with regular exercise is the key to achieving a healthy weight and maintaining this. If you need assistance and support with your diet make an appointment with an Accredited Practising Dietitian, you can search for one at www.daa.asn.au
- See latest blog post