Healthy eating means making healthful food choices, which means feeling, not necessarily ‘knowing’ what and how much you eat.
- A portion is the amount of food that you choose to eat for a meal or snack. It can be big or small—you decide.
- A serving is a measured amount of food or drink, such as one slice of bread or one cup (eight ounces) of milk.
To overcome portion distortion and to downsize your helpings, try these tips:
- When we eat from a package, how can we know how much we’re eating?
- Many convenience foods and drinks are priced lower but packaged in larger sizes to sell more: they come as a single portion but actually contain multiple servings. And many meals have portions that are enough for two or more people. We’re told to read labels, but maybe we need a maths and chemistry degree now?
- Restaurants offer extras like breads, chips and other appetizers that add extra calories, sodium and fat but lack any nutritional benefit.
So what’s the right way to eat? First, notice that a serving size is what we’ve been told to eat. And when you remove these processed foods, like in the Sugar Intervention, what’s left to eat is actually more thinking about how you eat, feeling satisfied not full. Chances are we’re probably nutrient not calorie deficient, don’t you think?
Personally I think the best way to eat is what YOU need. One of yesterday’s articles look at nutrient deficiency and cravings as signs of foods we can you to help. Today we look at the physical effect on foods we’re eating right now, which we can also use as a test for any allergenic foods we might not know about. Have you tried the fine-tuning mini quiz, cravings chart test or pulse test?
And lastly, perhaps portioning is more more about taking five: digestion only happens when we’re relaxed. Period. It occurs through nerves in the side of our brain, called parasympathetic, which is by name and definition opposite to the other side, called sympathetic, which is active where we are, including stress and being on the go. So eating needs to be done resting, sitting, in a park, n the floor of your office. Chillin’! It’s also called ‘mindful eating’, encouraging us to sit down to chat at meals or put the fork down between bites. Both give us more time to know what fullness, hunger and satiation actually feel like as they happen, rather than 20 min later!
In another article we explore the idea of the size of your meals and the shape of your body, and the way we eat breakfasts that look like breakfasts, lunch as lunches and dinners as dinners, but truly healthy meals should mean you could eat your desserts for breakfast. In fact, I often eat dessert leftovers as breakfast and they look a lot like breakfast should!
Apple breakfast pie and custard