Friday, February 22, 2013

Improve Your Diet by Using Portion Control

Serving sizes are really a magical and mysterious thing. They don't seem like they'd be all that hidden to the majority of us, but they are! In fact, just by learning to pay attention to portion sizes and serving sizes, you could easily lose weight without really trying all that hard! Seriously: before you purchase anything or put it into your shopping cart, flip the packaging over and look at the serving size. You'd be surprised by how things will trick you. 

That small bag of chips near the checkout counter? I bet you'd be surprised to know that a lot of those contain two or three servings in just one bag. Most grab-and-go soda bottles? Those sometimes contain two servings in just the one bottle. Those quick-and-easy Mac and Cheese boxed dinners? Those usually have four to six servings in them. 

For example, did you know that ONE (yes, JUST ONE) Triple Double Stuffed Oreo Cookie is 100 calories? How many people eat JUST one? Eat just ten of those in a sitting, and you've now eaten about half of the calories you're supposed to have in a day. Did you eat them with milk? Well, now there's even LESS calories for the rest of your meals. Just by being an observant person about your food choices, you can avoid making accidental mistakes like that. (I honestly haven't touched Oreo cookies since I saw the astounding nutritional facts - I could easily have much more delicious food, such as my favorite diet Starbucks drink, for the same amount of calories as just ONE cookie. It just doesn't seem worth it anymore.) 

Understanding calories and portion sizes is vital when you eat out, too! You don't have to be obsessive, but you do have to be aware. Many restaurants have insane amounts of portion sizes. For example, a plate out at a restaurant could easily have over 1,300 calories! That's a TON! Almost all of the calories you're supposed to eat in a day. And if you add that to the calories from any free soda refills you're getting, you're pretty much at your limit. So when possible, know how many calories are in your meal. If you can, offer to split your meal with a friend - or ask for a to-go box with your meal and instantly put half of your meal in that box for later (save you some money too!). Or choose your meal from the "Sides" category or see they have smaller portion sizes of some of your favorite meals; it never hurts to ask! 

Nobody's saying that you have to give up your favorite foods. (You're not taking my Lindt Milk Chocolate Truffles from me!) You just have to be an educated eater. It's almost terrifying how much extra sugar and calories some of those "normal" foods can have. (Just one of my tiny truffles is 70 calories!) If you don't pay attention and have a general idea of what you're eating, you can overeat really easily. So just take a quick glance in your day to notice how many calories it has in it - then decide if it's really worth adding that many more calories to your day.  

This is a guest post written by Kayla from I Heart Giveaways. Feel free to check out her website if you have a chance! 

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