You will be pleased how quickly you can reach a healthy weight and how you'll feel energized by focusing on proper portion size and healthy foods.
Healthy eating includes two important components:
- healthy foods, and
- healthy amounts of food. This is portion control.
Eating healthy foods means to focus on eating fruits and vegetables. They provide a lot of healthy nutrients and have been shown to help prevent cancers and other diseases. Your plate should be about 1/2 fruits and vegetables, make at least half your grains whole grains and switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
It can be hard to eat healthy if your portions of food are too large. Even if your usual foods are healthy, too much of them will add calories you don't need. If your usual foods are high-calorie, low-nutrient foods, then your large portions are that much worse. Imagine a huge stack of syrup-covered pancakes. Even if it seems tasty, the amount of calories versus nutrients makes it not worth the taste.
As you're learning to eat healthy, that means re-thinking the value you place on health (a long-term benefit) versus taste (a short-term benefit). But you also will learn to turn healthy food into tasty food -- so you keep the enjoyment in eating.
Healthy eating also means balancing the calories you take in with the energy you spend each day. Learn the right portion size, and that will help you learn to eat healthy. A serving size might be smaller than you realize, and you may have to reconsider how much you put on your plate or how much you order from the drive-through.
Here are some portion size examples:
- A serving of meat (boneless, cooked weight) is roughly the size of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards, which is three ounces.
- A serving of chopped vegetables or fruit is 1/2 cup, or half a baseball or a rounded handful.
- A serving of fresh fruit is one medium piece, or the size of a baseball. Often, a large apple or orange is actually two servings.
- A serving of cooked pasta, rice, or cereal is 1/2 cup, or half a baseball or a rounded handful.
- A serving of cooked beans is 1/2 cup, or half a baseball or a rounded handful.
- A serving of shelled nuts is 1/3 cup, or a level handful for an average adult.
- A serving of peanut butter is two tablespoons, about the size of a golf ball.
If these aren't the sizes you're used to, you will be pleased by how focusing on proper portion size and healthy foods can help you feel energized and reach a healthy weight.