Every morning, as you’re putting together your lunch you may be packing more to ensure that no one goes hungry. However, you may want to cut down on the portions to ensure healthy eating habits. You can do this easily by investing in lunch containers with dividers, which are a great way to keep portion control in mind.
The Nemours Foundation pointed out that food portions began to grow in the ’80s. Twenty years ago, bagels used to be 3 inches in diameter but have now doubled in size. Consumer understanding of portion size has become distorted, with retail food venues offering extra large sodas and restaurants featuring endless bread sticks.
Read labelsAll food items come with a nutrition label, which lists serving size. The Nemours Foundation pointed out that serving size doesn’t tell you the amount you should be eating, but lets you know the nutritional values of that specific serving size. For example, a large bottle of soda may list a certain number of calories and sugar, but the serving size may be less than the quantity in the bottle. Nutrition labels serve as a guideline, and the portion sizes are left to your discretion, so it’s important to take a look at the information before serving the food.
Understand the mentality
One of the inherent dangers of large portions is the mentality of not wanting to let food go to waste. It’s alright to cook a large amount of food for dinner so that there will be leftovers for lunch the next day. However, serving all the food may give your young ones a skewed vision of what a healthy-sized portion is. Instead, hand out smaller servings, and if family members are still hungry, they can get a little more food. This way, they can gauge their own hunger and assess the best amounts that will satisfy their hunger, but not overfill them.
Conventional wisdom advises parents to tell their kids to clean their plates so that they get their nutrients and won’t be hungry later in the day. However, it’s this approach that causes kids to believe that they always have to finish their meal, whether it’s at home or at a restaurant where larger portions are served. You can ensure that your young ones are getting their nutrients by serving healthy meals with plenty of vegetables and encouraging them to eat a little of everything.
Knowing the importance of portion control and serving proper amounts of nutritious foods will help keep you and your loved ones happy and healthy.