Use Hand Symbols to Control Food Portions and Avoid Overeating
Over the years, Americans have made their food portions bigger. As a result, Americans themselves are bigger than they used to be. About 35 percent of the population falls into the overweight and obese category, and the extra weight comes with a slew of health problems. It is true that is is more than just portion sizes that cause people to gain the extra pounds, but it is still an issue. However, giving yourself the right portion sizes can help you lose weight and maintain the weight you have already lost. One great way to make sure your food portions are the right size.
Previous Problems with Food Portions
Most of us have probably experienced the feeling of eating a meal and still feeling hungry. We go and get a bit more food so we can feel more full. In the next 10 minutes, we then feel full and wish we had not taken the extra food. This is because it takes time for the stomach to send signals to the brain that signify that it is full. It also does not help that when you go to a restaurant to eat, they typically give you double the amount of food you should be eating. This makes us think that we need to eat that much, which then leads us to overeat.
One solution that experts suggested to prevent overeating was to measure out the food in grams. This is a more precise way to figure out your food portions, but there were a couple of problems with this method. For one, some people do not own a food scale and do not want to spend the money on one. Secondly, it takes more time to weigh out the food, and many people are too impatient to do it. While this method of weighing out portions is effective, many people simply choose not to do it.
Using Hand Symbols to Determine Portions
On the other hand, using hand symbols to determine your portions is both fast and easy. It does not give you the exact amount of food you need, but it can help you eyeball the right amount. Based on a 2,000 calorie diet that the average adult woman needs, here are the portions you should be eating.
- Three to four portions of starchy carbohydrates
- Two to three portions of proteins
- Two to three portions of dairy
- At least five portions of fruits and vegetables
- A small amount of unsaturated oils and fats
Here is how you can determine how much of each food is a portion. For pasta, rice, and breakfast cereal, two handfuls of the uncooked food equals a portion. When you hold together dry spaghetti noodles, the bunch should be about as wide as a US quarter. A meat portion should be the size of your palm. For dairy products like cheese, about the size of your two thumbs together is a portion. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, there really is not a limit. Most Americans do not eat enough, so you should add as much as you can. You can typically count your fruits and veggies as a portion if it is the size of your fist. However, a portion of salad will be the size of two fists. Sticking to these food portions can help you keep your diet balanced.
Food Portions Make a Difference
Whether you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, the size of your food portions makes a difference. The portion sizes provided are a good place to start, but there are other factors that can alter it. Your age, weight, height, activity level, and so on will determine whether you need smaller or larger portions. If you are new to figuring out portions though, this is a great place to start.