Avoid ‘portion distortion’

It’s a little known condition, yet it affects most people. Chances are you suffer from it and don’t even realize it.

Portion distortion

Portion distortion

It’s called Portion Distortion.

We live in a world of distorted portion sizes when it comes to eating. Many people can’t even recognize a normal portion anymore because our society has become so accustomed to the inflated size of food. And it’s not just ‘supersizing’ of fast food that is a problem; it’s our everyday portions that cause the most concern.

Case in point: 20 years ago the average bagel was three inches in diameter and 140 calories. The average bagel today is six inches in diameter and 350 calories (that’s equal to 3.5 slices of bread). The average muffin 20 years ago weighed 1.5oz and provided 210 calories. You’d be hard pressed to find a muffin that size today since the average muffin is 5oz and 500 calories.

The growing rates of obesity are a recognized problem and increased portion sizes are one of the contributing factors. We’ve lost touch with what our portion sizes should be. So what can you do to change that?

It isn’t necessary to weigh or precisely measure your food. Instead, use a tool that is always at your disposal: your hands. A piece of meat, poultry or fish should be equal to the size of the palm of your hand (or about the size of a deck of cards). A portion of starch, which includes rice, pasta, potato, and grains, should be no larger than the size of a fist.

Vegetables, which should make up the largest part of a meal, should be, at a minimum, equal to the amount that could fit in both your hands. Any added fat, such as butter, should be equal to the size of the tip of your thumb.

One reason for the increased amount of food on our plates is that our plates themselves are too large. To help further control portions, use smaller dishes.

Also, fill your plate with dinner before sitting at the table rather than having the serving dishes on the dinner table. This way it is not as tempting to reach for seconds. Often times we reach for seconds, not out of hunger, but out of habit.

Just sitting at the table to eat, rather than in front of the TV, can also help decrease portions. Eating in front of the TV results in ‘mindless’ eating which results in larger portions being consumed. Before you know it, the whole bag of chips is gone, instead of the 10 chips you originally intended to eat.

Take a little more time to become aware of what you are eating. You don’t need to suffer from portion distortion any longer.