Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Weight Control
Weight management: Avoiding portion distortion in the new year
Christeena Haynes, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Dallas County, University of Missouri Extension
Many people’s resolutions relate to weight loss and healthy eating habits. To help manage your weight throughout the entire year, it is important to use portion control. Apply the following tips to avoid falling into the portion distortion trap in the new year.
- When eating at home, read food labels and pay attention
to serving sizes as well as number of servings in a package.
Purchase pre-packaged single-serving foods, such as applesauce
cups, or buy in bulk and then package single serving sizes of
those foods yourself to help prevent you from overeating. Eating
on a smaller plate is also an easy way to cut down on consumption.
- When eating at a restaurant, split your meal with someone
or take half home for your next meal. Another option is to order
a half-portion or an appetizer as your meal. Many times dishes
served at restaurants are much larger than we need, so not only
do these methods help us eat in moderation, but they save us
money as well. Avoid “super-sizing” your order at fast food
restaurants even if it seems like a better deal.
- When eating at holidays or functions in which there will
be large amounts of food, it is good to keep a few things in
mind. Don’t fast before a big meal because it can cause you
to get too hungry and be more likely to overeat. You may even
want to eat a light snack, such as a piece of fruit, before
you go. If there is a buffet table, take only small amounts
of the foods you want to try and don’t stand near the table
once you have gotten your food. Never overeat just to please
- In any eating situation, use the USDA’s MyPlate icon as a simple way to think about what a healthy meal should look like and to avoid oversized portions. The recommendations are to make half your plate fruits and vegetables, a fourth of your plate grains, and a fourth of your plate protein. A cup of fat-free or low-fat (1%) dairy should be included on the side. To learn more about MyPlate go to choosemyplate.gov.
Quaker Oats Company. (2010). Tips for avoiding portion distortion. Retrieved November 28, 2011, from http://www.quakeroats.com/oats-do-more/for-your-health/healthy-eating.aspx
USDA. (2011). Choose MyPlate.gov. Retrieved November 28, 2011, from http://www.choosemyplate.gov/
Last update: Tuesday, December 30, 2014