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Understanding Portion Sizes In Simple Terms

understanding portion sizes simplified

It doesn’t have to be difficult. There is a simple way of understanding portion sizes.

There are a lot of eating plans and diets out there, all claiming to be the best. Some diets are really restrictive, while others claim you can eat whatever you want. And, let’s not forget about all of the various diet products that are out there, from prescription weight loss pills, to weight management products that you can buy over the counter. It is definitely overwhelming!

Things are more confusing than ever when it comes to losing weight, and that’s why understanding portion sizes in simple terms is imperative. The reality is that many of us eat far too much at one sitting. According to the American Heart Association, adults today eat 300 more calories daily compared to how much they ate in 1985. Also, the size of portions has grown a lot in the last four decades. So, overall, people are eating more than they used to, and they’re eating more than they should when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight.

The simple act of understanding portion sizes, and tweaking how much you eat throughout the day, can make a big difference in how much weight you are able to shed. To gain a clearer perspective on portions, continue reading.

You Are Probably Eating More Than You Should

We have been trained over time to accept that a huge portion of food is the norm. Not only do we fool ourselves at home, but we also make the same sort of mistakes when dining out. What we are served is often far and above anything that we should eat in one serving. So as you work to lose weight you need to know and understand fully what makes up proper portion sizes.

Understanding Portion Sizes vs. Servings Sizes

To know what a portion size is, you need to know what a serving size is. These are different things, so don’t get them confused.

  • A portion size is basically the amount of food that you eat at a meal. This could actually be less than a serving or more than a serving.
  • A serving size is basically a standardized amount of food. When you read a food label, it will tell you how many calories, how much fat, and how many nutrients are in a single serving.

Serving sizes can be great starting points and guides, but if you want to control your portions more effectively, consider the following:

  • A good portion for grains, like oatmeal, is roughly ½ cup, which is about the size of a tennis ball.
  • A good portion size for cooked or raw veggies, and for whole fruit, would be a cup, which is about the size of a baseball.
  • A good portion for nut butters is about 1 tablespoon, which is around the size of your thumb.
  • A good size for oils and fats is about 1 teaspoon, which is roughly the size of a stamp.
  • A good portion for meat (beef, chicken, fish, etc.) is roughly 3 ounces, which is about the size of a deck of cards.

Understanding Portion Sizes When it Comes to Meat

Let’s start with something simple like meat as we work in understanding portion sizes.

The proper portion size for a piece of meat is no bigger than the size of your fist. This usually constitutes about 3 to maybe 4 ounces of meat per serving.

Think about this for awhile and you will likely see that you need to make some adjustments. When we eat out or even cook at home, we are used to seeing huge pieces of meat. Cutting them into thirds is usually what will make up a more appropriate serving of meat and keep you in line with the right measurements.

Understanding Portion Sizes When it Comes to Pasta and Rice

When it comes to pasta or rice, this is another area where many people are shocked. You want to aim for no more than a cup of pasta or rice at one serving, and ideally even less than that.

Once you make the switch to a healthier version such as brown rice or whole wheat pasta then it’s all about measuring it out. Envision about the size of an orange or apple and that’s what makes up a proper serving of these carbohydrates. It’s not to say that you can’t have them, but you should be certain that you measure them out properly and opt for the right type.

Understanding Portion Sizes When It Comes to Healthy Foods

As you work in understanding portion sizes it’s also important to note that even the healthiest things must be eaten in proper servings. Reading labels helps you to understand what makes up a proper serving size, and this can be shocking.

Even a seemingly healthy whole grain cracker can sneak up on you if you don’t read the label and make good choices. You may want to measure everything out for awhile until you get used to proper serving sizes. Then you will learn to eye things and to make the right choices to eat for better health and weight loss as well.

Learning to Portion Things Properly Really Counts

Bottom line: if you want to lose weight more efficiently, you might have to do more than just swap unhealthy foods for healthy options because you might also need to reduce how much of the food you are eating throughout the day. By understanding portion sizes, you can make smarter choices for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snack time, and you can finally start to see the number on the scale go down.

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