Monthly Archives November 2014

Portion Size, Portional Control, Rethinking “Full”

cheeseburger-with-fries-1426232-mAs I’m writing this book about the Food Stamp Challenge, and I’ve been interviewing people who are both on food stamps and not on them but are food insecure, I am learning one very important and critical thing. I’ll get to that in a moment, but let me talk about something else that’s related to this too. I read in the comments section of a blog the other day that someone said Michelle Obama was ‘starving our school children’. I did some more research into that too. Turns out, many folks think the portion sizes that are suggested for elementary school and high school children are too small, even though the calorie and nutritional content of the food meets the guidelines suggested for their age groups. Then I read the USDA food pyramid redone guidelines for the MyPlate. Then I started looking into MyFitnessPal and their recommendations.

I took a basic, average school child’s diet and plugged it into MyFitnessPal. I took a basic adult’s diet and plugged that into MyFitnessPal. Then I plugged in typical fast food meals–for example, a Whataburger #1 with an upsized fry and full-sugar soda. Did you know that this one meal is HALF of your daily allowance for calories and half of your daily allowance for fat? It’s also half your daily allowance for sodium. So let’s assume you had a Whataburger #1 meal for lunch, you had a Starbucks Venti Latte for breakfast, and then you come home for dinner, there’s almost no way you can plan a healthy dinner and keep it below the calorie count you need for the day to maintain and healthy weight and be heart healthy on good fats and sodium.

Now, if you, instead, ordered a junior burger and small fry with a small cola, or even with an unsweetened iced tea, NOW you’re talking. You can still have the latte too, but go with a tall and ask them to make it dry with ‘no room’, so they fill the cup up all the way, and you’re still doing better than if you go with the larger portions. Your pocketbook will save about $5 per day this way too, you can still have the convenience of eating out, and I promise you–after you do it, you will NOT be any hungrier or fuller feeling than if you did the full-sized meal. You really won’t even consciously notice it, unless you TELL yourself otherwise. You CAN retrain your body to rethink ‘full’. You CAN still have the fast food you sometimes want, if you want it.

And that’s what I’m getting to: Portion sizes are out of control!

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