Friday, April 24, 2009

Foodie Fit Friday Tip: Watch Those Portions

Bento Box
The bento box at Shojin is sensibly portioned and have great variety between the different food groups

Weekends are usually more challenging in managing what you eat; less structure, more celebrations, etc. -- so here's a Foodie Fit Friday Tip to help with healthful eating for the next two days (and onwards!)

Foodwise, we are definitely living in the land of plenty. Between meals with lots extras to add on, ever-larger meal plates and growing portion sizes, it's easy to lose track of what a 'serving' is. So here's a friendly reminder from me and the American Dietetic Association on what a serving looks like. (Sidenote: to clarify, servings are standardized whereas portions are variable.)

- A serving of meat is three ounces, or size of a deck of cards
- A serving of cooked veggies is half a cup, or a light bulb (raw veggies, by the way, is one cup)
- Each dairy serving is eight ounces of milk, one ounce or one slice of cheese; an ounce of cheese is about a pair of dice (and not those huge plushy ones you dangle about.)
- A serving of nuts is an ounce, or a modest handful
- One serving of cooked pasta/rice is a cup, or a tennis ball
- For breads, each serving is one slice (even less for denser, larger ones like oversized loaves or bagels)
- One drink in alcohol equals to 12 oz. of beer, 5 oz. of wine or 1.5 oz (a shot) of spirit (i.e. a full pint glass is actually 133% serving of beer, and a bottle of wine contains five servings)

I am not saying you should use a measuring spoon and cup to scrutinize everything you put in your mouth, but hopefully these visual cues will help you gauge how many servings of the various food groups you're consuming and make adjustments as needed.

Likewise, feel free to indulge occasionally in that large piece of steak, the must-have cheesy baked pasta dish or that decadent dessert, but try to compensate by cutting back on those food groups on days leading up to and following that splurgy meal. As noted recently, moderation is key.


Diana said...

I definitely don't stick to most of these. I'm pretty good about keeping my rice and pasta servings in check, but I don't think I've ever eaten just 3 ounces of meat (aside from when I'm eating a sandwich -- not a fan of deli meat overload).

The wine tip is a good one though. If I open a bottle at home, I definitely try to get 5 servings out of it -- one glass a night!

H. C. said...

Heh, I too think 3 oz. of meats is miniscule if served as a solid slab, but when cooking I often stretch it out by incorporating into soups, stir-fries, sauces etc.

I actually have more trouble getting my carb portions in line - having an affinity for sweets doesn't help either.