There is so much discussion about how portion sizes for Americans have grown larger and larger over the years. An easy example for size comparison is McDonalds meals. In the 1950s a regular single patty cheeseburger and a small fry and an 8 oz drink was a meal. Today a Big Mac, large fries and a large shake is a meal. If you are brave enough to compare the calories of those two meals you’ll be stunned.
Don’t get me wrong, you aren’t going to see me advocating McDonalds as a place eat. It is truly wrong on so many levels, but you already know that so I’m not going to beat a dead horse. I will say though, if you have a super strong craving that is long lasting, just give in and eat the smallest amount of it you can and then walk away. Don’t fall into the trap of ‘I screwed up so I better make it count and binge’.
First, I’d like you to take a good look at how many times a day you eat. Optimum would be five small meals a day. If that doesn’t work for you, the minimum is three. Less than three and it can contribute to metabolic issues. If you are eating three times a day, take a good look at the size of your plates. Try a smaller plate and try and make sure your different foods aren’t touching.
For a 3 meal plan per day these are the appropriate serving size for each meal by food group:
Vegetables and Low Glycemic Index Fruit:
Big serving size! You are looking for veggies that are full of nutrients, high water and fiber content. Examples are kale, chard, broccoli, spinach and peppers. Carrots and tomatoes are good but should be a smaller portion as they are high in sugar. Please avoid dried fruit. It is loaded with sugar and can spike your blood sugar. Low glycemic index fruit like berries, granny smith apples and peaches are great but… veggies should be the majority of this serving. In fact when it comes to greens, you can have unlimited! Green smoothies are a great way to get your veggies. I have one every night and I love them. I’ll do a blog on them to give you some more information in the next couple of days! Organic is best; you’ll find that it just tastes better and is worth the extra price. When food tastes better it is so much easier to eat!
Look for whole grains like oats, brown rice, quinoa and even ancient grains like Spelt! Beans have great nutritional value and are very versatile so reach for them often. Starchy fruits and veggies fit in this category. Sweet potatoes are lower in sugar so are preferred over regular potatoes. If you want the regular ones, reach for baby potatoes to cut back on the starch.
Low-fat meats and protein rich seeds. I recommend hormone/medication free meats as there is a lot of concern about hormones and medications passing to us. Proteins like salmon, halibut, chicken without the skin and leaner cuts of beef are ideal.
This category is for your simple sugars, dressings, spreads and dessert. Keeping the sugars to agave and raw unpasteurized honey are the best choices for sugar. I am strongly against margarine of all kinds, just use butter. You’ll find you can get away with a smaller amount. If possible keep to dressings that are lower in sugar and ingredients you can’t pronounce. Don’t overdress those salads and sandwiches. Absolutely avoid all low or non-fat foods. They almost always substitute with a form of sugar or chemicals that haven’t been adequately tested for how well we can tolerate them. It is worth mentioning that Olive Oil and Virgin Coconut Oil are the best choice in cooking. I use almost nothing else. Most of the others really aren’t good for you. Catsup and Mayo go in this category too. Try your best to find ones that are as natural and low sugar as possible.
If you are wondering about calories, since I didn’t mention them, the days of 1000 calorie diets are over. Those diets are unsafe. In fact it is almost impossible to calculate the perfect calories for a person because we vary so much from person to person. As a general rule for women, 1200 is the lowest you’d ever go and you’d watch carefully to make sure you weren’t going too low.
Continue with the Make It Your Year Program – Click here for week 4 – Green Smoothies