As I said in a previous post, I attended a free class at my YMCA called “Portion Distortion” and the teacher, a Registered Dietitian, crammed a lot of information into an hour.
Here are some of my notes. I apologize if they are kind of random. This was just the order I took them in as a result of how the teacher taught the class:
- Eating healthy is a lifestyle change. Everyone has to eat, so it might as well be healthy foods, but this can take time.
- Extra calories every day add up.
- She recommended a book called Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink. Basically one of the premises is that if there is more food around, you will eat that extra food, even if you are full.
- Be mindful of your habits. TV=mindless eating. Eating dinner in front of a TV is generally a bad idea.
- Plates are bigger now than they used to be. Use smaller plates and you will eat less. Same principle holds true for drinking glasses.
- Measure out your food–bring your measuring cups out and visualize what portions look like.
- The teacher said she thinks the focus on sugar in the diet will be the next big thing in nutrition. Obesity could have more to do with sugar than fat.
- When you look at packaging on your food, a good rule of thumb is that if there are more than five ingredients, that’s not so great.
- Choose high fiber cereal. Fiber is good because it fills you up and is good for cholesterol.
- Be careful when choosing bars. Look at calories and protein. My opinion-the bar below has lots of protein and low calories. Definitely a good choice.
- Fruits-should be the size of a tennis or baseball. If you eat a big apple or a large banana, they can count as two servings as fruit. Eat as many fruit and vegetables as possible in a variety of colors. Have five servings a day of fruits and veggies combined.
- A typical ice cream serving is 1/2 cup. She showed us this portion and I was shocked. It helped to visualize what I should be scooping into my dish though. If you like ice cream, she recommended buying bars instead. That helps with built-in portion control. Premium ice creams like Ben & Jerry’s, Haagen Das and custard are higher in fat.
- Meats-it’s good to weigh them before cooking. They should fill up 1/3 of your dinner plate, or be the size of a deck of cards or a woman’s palm.
- When eating at parties, remember that 4 cubes of cheese equals 1 oz., with 9 grams of fat. If you like cheese (like me and most Wisconsinites), pick a strong flavored cheese like feta, blue or gorgonzola. A little goes a long way. The teacher even suggested using shredded instead. You are more likely to nibble on a block of cheese as you cut it for meal prep. She said to freeze the shredded cheese and throw it on a salad in the morning–by lunch it will be perfect.
- Pause point. Think before eating mindlessly. I often say to myself, do I really need to eat that right now?
- A good snack is nuts of any kind. Portion out a golf ball size or 1/4 cup. Other good snacks-string cheese, laughing cow wedges with crackers.
- Journal what you eat. People who journal are more successful in weight loss or maintaining their weight. Write down the calories you eat and track that. I do this with the Lose It! app.
- If you crave sweets as a snack, you could really be dehydrated and craving water instead.
- Greek yogurt-high in protein (14 g for Chobani, which I love), this amount of protein is equivalent to two pieces of meat. Our teacher likes Fage, which I have never tried. I got a little excited about this discussion. I gave my opinion to another class member about two yogurt brands that have recently come out with greek yogurt and I exclaimed, “those are awful.” Just my opinion, but they tasted really bad.
- In general, Americans need to spend more money on food. In the past, we spent more on food and less on health care. Now it is sadly the opposite.
Hope this was helpful! If you have anything to add that has worked for you, please comment and share!
I definitely have been watching my portions more since I took this class.