Do you ever wonder how much food you should eat?
How much IS a "portion" of food?
Well, it just depends on what you're eating.
Every food is composed of 3 basic macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Carbohydrates and protein contain 4 calories per gram, while fat weighs in at a hefty 9 calories per gram. So, the next time you read a nutrition label, you can figure out exactly how many calories are coming from carbs, protein, or fat.
Since not all macronutrients are equal when it comes to calories, portion sizes really do matter if you're looking to lose weight or gain weight. Additionally, some foods like breads, pastas, nuts, avocados ands fatty meats are MUCH more calorie-dense than fruits and vegetables. You can eat a huge plateful of fresh vegetables for the same amount of calories as a few nuts (or 2 mini candy bars). I love this infographic from The Huffington Post:
Keep in mind that these are HEALTHY snacks! Now just imagine the difference between a 100-calorie vegetable salad (a large plateful) with another 100 calories of lean protein vs one 200-calorie candy bar (which is usually less than the entire bar). Which would be more filling? More nutritious? More packed with vitamins and minerals that your body needs to thrive? More likely to keep you heading towards your health and fitness goals?
Ok, back to portion control!
There are multiple approaches to eating and portion control, so I'm going to give you 3 Basic Strategies. Ultimately, you are going to have to do a little trial and error to figure out which foods work best for YOU, but any of these strategies are going to be a great starting point to get your portions under control.
3 Portion Control Strategies:
1. Weigh and measure all of your food. This is the most accurate way to gauge how much you are eating, but it is also the most tedious and cumbersome. If you eat out a lot, it's going to be pretty tricky to do this, but it is possible if you bring your food scale and an ask for an extra plate. At each meal, aim for the following:
a. Vegetables: 10+ oz
b. Fruit: 4-6 oz
b. Protein: 4-8 oz
c. Starchy Carbohydrates: 4-8 oz
d. Fat: 1/2-1 oz
2. Hand Portions: This is an easy way to gauge any meal.
a. Vegetables: 2+ handfuls
b. Fruit: 1 handful
c. Protein: 1 hand (length, width and thickness)
d. Starchy Carbohydrates: 1 palm
e. Fat: 1 pinky (length, width and thickness)
3. Plate Portions: This is another simple way to portion your food. Use a lunch plate instead of a dinner plate for smaller, more realistic portions.
a. Vegetables: 1/2 plate
b. Fruit/Starchy Carbohydrate: 1/4 plate
c. Protein: 1/4 plate
d. Fat: 1 pinky or none. It's probably already in your food if it's already plated. This is especially true when you're eating out.
Alright, now that you have some guidance on figuring out your portions, let's get you hooked up with some workouts to get that lean, toned physique you're after! Most of these workouts have Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced options, but if you're looking for some less intense workouts, try the Trim in 20 Program. They are all 20-minute workouts you can do at home or at your office, and you don't need any gym equipment.
Monday: Power of 10 Workout #1
Tuesday: Tabata #4
Wednesday: Upper Body Sculpt #3
Thursday: Sevens #3
Friday: Full Body Burnout #2
Saturday: Get outside and do something active for 30-60 minutes! Or if you're short on time and need a quick workout, try Cardi Party #1.
Sunday: REST DAY! Take a walk, stretch or do some gentle restorative Yoga or Pilates.