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  • Writer's pictureAmy Salman

The Serving Size Secret You Must Know

I was recently traveling out of the country and took notice of the substantially smaller portion sizes at breakfast one morning. The potatoes were barely a 1/4 cup, the bacon similar in size, the croissants miniature, and the omelette, although it was a nice size, was also smaller. Even though the portions were substantially smaller than a meal I would be served at home, I was easily full and satisfied on much less. This past weekend, I was out of town, and sat down for dinner to a serving of chicken enough for four people. I couldn't help but think about the differences between the way we are served here and how we eat in this country and elsewhere. So, I thought I would ask a question. How aware are you of your portion sizes?

Quick Quiz: How many portions are in a bag of snack-size whole grain crackers? Or a small bottle of locally-pressed juice? Or a lunchbox pack of granola bars?

Hint: it’s not “one.” Often, the above products contain two or two-and-a-half servings per package.

Can YOU Eat Just One? Sure, you could go ahead and enjoy just half the bag, but are you really going to do that?

Don’t beat yourself up if the answer is no. If you place food in front of most people, they tend to eat it all. It’s just the way we’re wired.

The Perils of Supersizing Eating too much food in one sitting is hard on your body. Here’s why:

Food is meant to be spread throughout the day. Overdosing on too much food at one time causes pain, upset, and sluggish digestion. A surge of glucose is released into your blood. Your pancreas has to work overtime, pumping insulin through the body to absorb all that extra glucose. This can make you feel spacey, weak, irritable, or headachy. Thinking there is some type of emergency, your adrenal glands go into “fight or flight” mode and release adrenaline and cortisol, which is the body’s natural response to stress. When your blood sugar levels finally plummet, you experience wicked cravings for more food—specifically simple carbs or sweets. Research has found that immune system function is affected for at least five hours after consuming large amounts of simple carbohydrates.

5 Tips to Kick Portion Distortion Don’t over order – go for salads, soups, and appetizers, which are typically more reasonably sized than entrees. Order two appetizers instead of an entree, split your entree, or take half home. Choose high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains to keep you feeling full and energized. Chew well to aid digestion and give your brain time to register you’re full before you overeat. Get enough water. Often we mistake thirst for hunger. Carry your own snacks. Stock up on snack-sized containers and fill them with cut up veggies, home-made trail mix, or nuts.

GET EVEN HEALTHIER! Are you curious about how easy-to-make changes (such as chewing your food more thoroughly) can make a big difference in your health? Would you like help in making healthier food choices? Let’s talk! Schedule a complimentary health coaching consultation with me today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about.

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