The state of the obesity epidemic in America is well-known, and so are its causes. We have an abundance of fatty, cheap food on every corner, and our portions have grown much larger than the rest of the world. A standard size soda at McDonalds is double the size it is in Europe. 20 years ago a standard fries was 2.4 ounces, or 210 calories. Today it’s a whopping 7 ounces, and contains over 600 calories. How are we supposed to lose weight eating like this?
The first and best way to reduce your calorie intake is simply to eat less. This sounds obvious, but it’s especially difficult over the holidays when other people are serving you food and fast food chains dish the food out by the bucket. Here are a few tips to help you reduce food intake, without it feeling like you’re starving yourself.
- Create the portions beforehand.
If you’re making dinner for other people, divide things like fries, potatoes and meat up into equal portions, and then dish up. This will help you to control your intake of things like carbohydrates and fatty meats. Get a calorie card or a booklet and get to know the general calorie content of the foods you normally eat.
- Learn what the serving suggestion is.
We’ve become so used to eating larger portions that we don’t actually realise how small servings of some foods are. A single serving of bread is a single slice, so make half-sandwiches. You might feel hungry in the beginning, but your body will soon learn that this is the correct-size serving. In fact, a half-sandwich with some meat and salad on it contains all the calories and nutrients you need for lunch. Cheese is also misleading – a piece the size of half a matchbox is one serving, and is all you should have with any meal.
- Get used to seeing less food on your plate, or buy smaller plates!
You can buy 9 or 12 inch plates, so go for the smaller ones. This will make you feel like you’re eating your normal amount, but you’ll be taking in far fewer calories and still getting all of what you need in terms of your daily intake of protein and vegetables. If necessary, make a side-plate of salad or vegetables, as you can normally eat as many of these as you like.
Often it’s not so easy, what a correct portion size means. Here you’ll find examples for daily portion intakes:
- Dairy Products: 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of yoghurt, around 42 gr. cheese
- Meat: 55 to 85 gr meat
- Vegetables: half a cup, cooked
- Fruits: medium sized fruit or half a cup cutted fruits or 3/4 glas of juice
- Grains: half a cup noodles or rice, cooked, 1 slice of bread or 30 gr cereals
Use the rule of the fist. If it’s a carbohydrate, and its bigger than your fist, don’t eat it! Get a kids’ size serving of fries if you must eat fast food. Have only one baked potato, or one generous spoon of potato salad (but not both). If you stick to one fist-size portion of carbohydrates at every main meal, you’ll be well on track to reducing your calorie intake, and building long-term healthy eating habits.