Healthy Diet and Portion Control

A healthy diet that contains fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins combined with portion control provides the foundation for a successful diet.
A healthy diet that contains fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins combined with portion control provides the foundation for a successful diet.

Healthy weight loss begins with understanding what a healthy diet is and what it is not. An unhealthy diet includes too many fried foods, fatty meats, sugar and processed foods, like white breads, white rice and junk food. To follow a healthy diet stick with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats in the proper proportions, whole grains and other products and foods low in sugar and salt. If you feel stuck, buy a recipe book of healthy foods and put together a few of those recipes. Gradually allow several of the recipes to be a part of your new healthy diet. Eat three bigger meals per day or six small meals per day, depending upon your preference and time constraints. Some nutritionists swear by the idea that you should eat six small meals per day in order to keep your insulin levels stable. Your portion size will be less if you eat this way and you may find yourself just snacking on healthy foods over the course of the day rather than eating a large meal three times per day.

Portion size is very important and the best way to understand portions is to read nutrition labels. You could pick up a can of “low calorie” soup and realize that the manufacturer expects you to eat two to two and a half servings per can. Now the “150 calories” listed becomes more than “300 calories”. This is because the caloric content of the food is listed “per serving” and not “per container”. You have to look at the number of servings per container in order to get a real handle on the serving size.

When it comes to meat, even the meat cuts you buy at the store are typically too large. The actual portion size of meat is 3 ounces, or about a fistful. Using the fist as a measure of portion size works for other foods as well, such as potatoes, rice and other grains. When in doubt, speak to a nutritionist about the portion size of things like butter, soups, cereals and milk. Make a list of the portion sizes used in the various food products and stick with those portion sizes when you eat. At first your body may feel cheated with smaller portion sizes and your hunger may nag at you, but over time your body will adjust to eating less and consuming fewer calories at meals, which is essential for losing weight.

Both a healthy diet and portion control will help you lose weight and begin a new lifestyle of eating that will last long after the “dieting” part of your life is over.

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