By Tammy Stokes, Founder Cafe West Express
Counting every calorie or adding up points is a pain. Focusing on the numbers, can get all of us, hung up on the wrong things. Instead of calorie counting, I recommend the simplicity of relying on visuals and feelings. Let me explain; visual portion sizes are best demonstrated in the charts below. As a visual of your plate during meals, fruits and vegetables should take up half of your plate. Most fruit and vegetable serving sizes are 1-2 cups. All of us could benefit from having a combined total of 6 or more servings of fruits and veggies per day.
High Fiber Complex Carbohydrates are commonly served in portions of 1 slice of bread or 1/2 - 3/4 cup serving sizes. As a visual of your plate, complex carbohydrates should take up 1/4 of it. Aim for 2 - 4 servings per day.
Protein portions should be the size and thickness of a deck of cards or the size of your palm. As a visual of your plate, protein should take up 1/4 of it. Plant based diets are very popular with the health conscious eater. If you choose to consume animal proteins, a good rule of thumb is a total daily intake of 6 ounces or less. A small portion of protein at each meal helps to provide satiety.
A healthy fat serving size is generally the size of your thumb print. Because some fats are liquid and some are solid, these simple measurements might be helpful for you.
1 pat of butter
1 tablespoon of healthy oils
1/4 of an avocado
a small handful of nuts
1 tablespoon of seeds
A small portion of fat at each meal will also help sustain your satiety level. Enjoy up to 3 servings per day.
Most often, people use calorie counting, points and scales to control weight. This brings me to my second recommendation of using feeling to help you lose, maintain or gain weight. If you continually eat until you are FULL, you will gradually put on pounds. If you eat until you are 80% full, you most likely will maintain your current body weight. This translates to a feeling of not being hungry or full. If you regularly eat to where you are slightly hungry, but not deprived of nutrients, you will most likely begin losing weight.
Life is busy and most of us don’t have time to calculate calories, subtract for exercise and weigh and measure our food. Keeping things simple most often translates into success. I find it most useful to go with visuals and feelings. They are much more personal and they help you gauge intuitively, your body’s needs. I hope this helps take one more thing off your plate, couldn’t resist the pun and adds more enjoyment to your mealtime.