December 6th, 2012
Thanks to restaurants and modern day food selling techniques, most of us are so used to eating oversized meals that we’ve forgotten what a real portion or serving looks like. This article will help you regain some sanity and control over the quantity of food we eat.
During a weekend outing at (say) a Chinese restaurant we think nothing of gulping down a plate full of fried rice or noodles. Never mind that the quantity served to you might be good enough for two people. Such portion distortions play havoc with our perception of portion sizes. Over time even at home, we tend to overstuff ourselves. The result of course, is obesity, diabetes and probably heart disease.
Combating portion distortions – learning portion control
There’s the hard way to combat portion distortions and the easier or more effective way of learning portion control.
The hard way of learning portion control or food portion sizes is to study the UDSA approved ‘MyPlate’ dietary advice including measuring calories and measuring food that will be cooked and served. This task is excruciatingly difficult, confusing and not to mention, totally unnecessary. To present you an analogy, you could use a paper and pen to sum up (say) 20, five-digit numbers or you could use a calculator. If the latter is available the former becomes an unnecessary exercise unless of course, you want to learn the mathematical process.
Similarly, studying USDA ‘Myplate’ and learning how to measure food and calories becomes totally unnecessary due to the invention of the portion plate.
The portion plate or portion control plate is an easy way to combat portion distortion without having to count calories or measure food at every meal. The portion plate uses visual cues to guide you in placing the correct portion size on your plate.
Initially (first two or three days), these portions may seem quite small especially after years of eating supersized meals. By end of week one, so long as you are able to control your urge to go in for a second or third helping, you will have comfortably adjusted to eating the right quantity of food.
Overtime, you will learn to automatically estimate the correct food portion so that even eating in a restaurant will not present you a problem.
What makes portion plates so special?
A portion control plate is usually 9 inches in diameter. This means it is smaller than the usual dinner plate you might be used to. A smaller plate fills faster and therefore helps control the overall food quantity on the plate. Further, each portion control plate usually has a design etched on it that divides the plate into three parts – one each for fruits and veggies, one for wholegrain and pulses. One part of the portion plate is for proteins. The division ensures you have a balanced meal.
Finally, an unmentioned component of portion control is ‘listening to your stomach’. Concentrate on the food you are eating and while doing so, pay close attention to your stomach. When your stomach is full, it will signal its fullness. This is your cue to stop eating. Never mind if there is still food on the plate.