Portion (out of!!) control

11 Jan

Now that you are in the kitchen with your family, talk about nutrition.  These discussions need to be done with a little strategy.  Children cannot be barraged with information.  It will sound like lecturing, and the “off” button will be activated in your child’s ears.  Think of your conversations being constructed with bullet points.  Brief.  Light.  Just the highlights.  Discussions such as these can be easily conducted while working on getting a meal to the table.

Here is a starting point.  Portion size discussion is a must.  This country has been “super sized” into expecting huge portions that are not designed for optimum health.  When discussing portion sizes, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • 1 ounce of meat (protein) is about the size of your thumb.  4 ounces is an appropriate serving.
  • 1 egg or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter is about an ounce.
  • One serving of bread is usually 1 slice.
  • Fruit juice can generally count as 1 fruit serving a day. In other words, 2 glasses of fruit juice isn’t 2 fruit servings.  High quality fruit juice is usually worth the extra expense.
  • A vegetable serving is 4 ounces.  That equals a half cup.

Are these serving sizes surprisingly small?  This briefly illustrates how out of control portion sizes have become.  The expectation has changed in the general public to a “bigger is better” mentality with food.  Portion size is included on the packaging of most food, but consumers fail to use this tool.  Start looking on food packaging for this information and share it with your children.  It is a great habit to get your children into, and a good way to have discussions about portion control.

Nutrition information on packaging also includes the Food Pyramid, which can be a good tool to use as a guideline.  Portion control is important, as is variety and physical activity.  It is important, though, to start with one small step, one small change.  Controlling portion sizes is a great first step!

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