In a survey commissioned by the American Institute for Cancer Research, 78% of respondents said that eating certain types of food while avoiding others was more important to their weight loss efforts than eating less food.
By all means, make healthy choices, but … effective weight loss plans place equal importance on both kind of food and amount of food ingested. Portion size most certainly matters, because weight loss is based on how many calories you take in and burn off.
What is a serving size?
A ‘serving’ is simply a measure of unit and often does not represent the amount that you’re actually eating. If you’re confused, you’re not alone. There is no one definition for a serving size. The food pyramid indicates that an English muffin is two bread servings, but the English muffin box indicates that one muffin is one serving. The standard USDA serving for French fries is about 10 (Yikes! I’m in trouble.) Would you like to know how many fries are in a Wendy’s Great Biggie?About 100, at 530 calories.
How to get a handle on portions?
Weigh and measure first. Invest in measuring spoons, cups, and a food scale. While you’re shopping, you might as well pick up a Calorie Count Guide Book and a notebook to honestly keep track of what you put in your mouth! These are great tools in determining portion size and calorie count and are well worth the investment.
Here are some portion (serving) guidelines taken from the USDA Food Pyramid.
Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese
1 cup of milk or yogurt
1 ounce of natural cheese
2 ounces of processed cheese
Meat, Poultry, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts
2-3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish
1/2 cup of cooked dry beans
2 tablespoons of peanut butter
1 cup of raw leafy vegetables
1 cup of other vegetables, cooked or chopped raw
1 cup of vegetable juice
1 medium apple, banana, orange
1/2 cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit
1/2 cup of fruit juice
Bread, Cereal, Rice, or Pasta
1 slice of bread
1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal
1/2 cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta
When away from home, here are some handy guidelines to keep in mind.
Guesstimating Portion Sizes
3 ounces of meat, poultry, or fish are about the size of a women’s palm.
1/2 cup of cut fruit, vegetables, or pasta is about the size of a small fist.
1 cup of milk, yogurt or chopped fresh greens is about the size of a small hand holding a tennis ball.
An ounce of cheese is about the size of your thumb.
A teaspoon of margarine is about the size of your thumb tip.
To limit the amount you eat when dining out, try following some of these strategies:
Order an appetizer as an entree (main dish).
Split an entree with another person.
Cut your entree in half as soon as you get it, and ask your waiter to wrap the other half “to go” ASAP.
If in fast-food restaurants, never ever utter the words “extra value” or “super size” meals.
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Janice Taylor is a Life & Wellness Coach, specializing in weight loss, reinvention, transformation & happiness, author, seminar leader and 50-pound-BIG-Time-LOSER! Write Janice for an Introductory Coaching Session.
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