The key to maintaining a healthy weight is all about portion control. It’s not about giving up foods you enjoy, but rather controlling the portions and being mindful of how much you consume. The healthiest way to eat is combining proper food groups, in appropriate sizes, every 2-3 hours. You end up eating smaller meals more often with better quality foods. This way of eating enables your metabolism to keep running, burning fat and giving you energy.
- Start adjusting your portion sizes at home by using smaller plates, bowls, and cups.
- Measure out your foods to get an idea of how much you are eating, and to learn what is appropriate with visualization.
- Fill up your plate with a rainbow of high-fiber, low calorie fruits/veggies, to add more volume to your meal to keep you full.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day(2 liters). Dehydration can be a sign of hunger.
- Keep a food journal, especially in the beginning. Recording your meals will keep you accountable to how much of an item you are consuming.
- Portion sizes have become huge in restaurants, and may contain double or triple the calories of home-cooked meals. When eating out, cut the meal in half and take the rest home.
1 serving lean protein= palm of your hand
1 serving of complex carbs from whole grains= one cupped hand
1 serving of complex carbs from fresh fruits or vegetables= two hands cupped together
Portion size = amount of food you decide to put on your plate to eat
Serving size = standards for foods in all the food groups
Serving sizes per container are listed on the nutrition facts label. To control your portions, make sure you know exactly how many servings you are consuming at a time. Ideally, your portion size would equal just one serving. But if it doesn’t, you need to account for the calories accordingly. (More information on reading labels and serving size is provided in my post: “Learning the Tricks of Healthy Nutrition”
GRAINS: bread, cereal, rice and pasta
One serving: 1 slice of bread; 4 medium sized square crackers, 1/2 cup cooked rice, pasta, or cereal, 1 ounce of cold cereal.
One serving: 1/2 cup cooked or chopped raw vegetables, 1 cup vegetable juice, 1 cup leafy raw vegetables.
One serving: 1 medium-size piece of fruit, such as banana, apple, or orange, 1/2 cup canned fruit, 1 cup fruit or 100 percent fruit juice, or 1/2 cup of dried fruit.
DAIRY: milk, yogurt, cheese
One serving: 1 cup of milk, 1 cup yogurt, 1 1/2 oz natural cheese, 2 oz processed cheese
One serving or ounce equivalent: 1 ounce of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish; 1/4 cup dried beans, after cooking; 1 egg; 1 tablespoon of peanut butter; or 1/2 ounce of nuts or seeds.
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