Controlling the portion size

Portion Control PlateI’m Deborah Susan, a dietician and personal trainer specializing in nutrition and physical fitness for diabetics. I’ve written over three dozen blogs covering various aspects of diabetes including symptoms, monitoring, explaining glycaemic index, carbohydrate counting, and correlation between body weight, lifestyle and diabetes and so on.

How often have you been told that to reduce your body fat (and thereby gain control over your diabetes), you need to cut down on your portion sizes? My clients always come back and tell me they have difficulty keeping control over portion sizes especially of foods that they love. Today, my blog will be on guiding you on how best to achieve and maintain that ideal portion size.

Over the years, manufacturers of food products (large scale and retail), have gradually increased the portion size of the food they package. The usual tactic is to initially offer a certain additional portion as “free” before gradually increasing the size of the package on a more permanent basis.

I remember about five years ago, when I used to purchase a bag of chips for my 5 year old son, the quantity of chips would be barely sufficient for him. Today when I see the bag of the same brand of chips at the local mall, it can easily feed at least 3 people. When you open a bag of chips they will turn soft in a couple of hours. A single person buying a bag of chips will therefore finish it all as quickly as possible.

Complete Wade Place SettingEarlier, restaurateurs and manufacturers of food products were guided by moral and ethical values. They were aware of food that was tasty but bad for health and therefore marketed it in small quantities just so it satisfied our craving for it. Today, the modern generation restaurateurs and manufacturers are guided by greed and the need to outperform the previous year’s revenue figures. While pop-and-mom establishments do exist, businesses have gone beyond the neighborhood food outlet; in fact, they have gone national and in many instances even global. These businesses have gone public and have a large shareholder base clamoring for higher profits. Ethics and consumer health be damned.

If you are presented with a larger portion of your favorite delicacy will you refuse? Therein lies the crux of the problem. Every food item bought and sold in the supermarket, mall, diner or local restaurant is a favorite for someone or the other. He or she wouldn’t mind eating a little extra. The problem is, over the years the ‘little’ has grown into gigantic portions.

So how do you control the portion sizes?

•    When you buy prepackaged food items, share it with at least two other people or, depending on the nature of the item, store 2/3rds in the fridge/air tight container.
•    While eating out, you can either request that the portion size be decreased, or pack away the excess food in the take-out container or simply leave it in the plate. You don’t have to eat everything that is put in front of you.
•    At home, if you feel that the portions have grown in size, I recommend you purchase quality portion control plates, bowls and scoopers. Portion control plates bowls and scooper will not only help regulate quantum of food consumed it will also help you in eating the right types of food.

Click for Control Blood Sugar Levels and Controlling portion sizes

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