Portion Distortion

Do you gain weight around the holidays? Many people do! It is harder to get out of the house during the winter. There is more food around to tempt us. It can be a "calorie slide" from Halloween to the end of December. One way to not gain weight during the holiday season is to cut your portion sizes. Cutting the portion lets you have a little bit of your favorite foods without gaining weight. Just a small change can make a difference in your waistline!

10 tips to reduce your calorie intake by 100 calories a day.

  1. Skip the mayonnaise. Use mustard or ketchup instead.
  2. Order a junior burger instead of a regular.
  3. Don’t super-size.
  4. Get rid of regular soda. Try replacing it with water and/or diet soda.
  5. Remove the skin from the chicken. There is a lot of fat in the skin!
  6. Order salad dressing on the side.
  7. Use skim or 1% milk instead of 2%.
  8. Watch the cheese! Cheese is very high in fat.
  9. Order your burger cheese-free.
  10. If you have chips or snacks, put a portion in a small bowl or baggie. When it is gone stop eating!
Larger portions add up: 100 extra calories per day = 10 pound weight gain per year.

To STOP weight gain most people need to do just two simple things:
  • Walk 2,000 more steps each day (2,000 steps = 1 mile)
  • EAT 100 fewer calories each day
What is a portion?
  • 3 ounces of meat = a deck of cards or the palm of your medium-sized hand
  • 1/2 cup of cereal, rice, pasta or ice cream = 1/2 baseball
  • 1 ounce of cheddar cheese = a 9-volt battery or your thumb
  • 1 teaspoon butter, margarine, mayonnaise or oil = a thumb tip (just to the top joint)
  • 1 tablespoon of salad dressing or peanut butter = 1/2 a golf ball
  • 1 cup of fruit, vegetables, pasta or rice = a small fist
  • 1 medium bagel = a hockey puck
  • 1 baked potato = a computer mouse
  • 1 muffin = a large egg

The best way to figure out how much you're eating is to measure it. But since you may not always have the necessary equipment on you, here are some ways to estimate portion based on common objects.

“Never eat more than you can lift”
—Miss Piggy

Painless Ways to Cut Those Pesky Calories

  • Use nonfat milk
  • Use a smaller glass, bowl and plate for your food.
  • Drink water.
  • Use jelly on your toast instead of butter or margarine.
  • Use a nonstick skillet.
  • Put veggies like lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles on your burger or sandwich.
  • Use ketchup or mustard instead of mayonnaise.
  • Eat more vegetables and fruits.
  • Leave three bites on your plate.
  • Eat slowly to make your meal last and reduce the urge for seconds.
  • If you eat chips in front of the TV, put a portion in a baggie or a small bowl. Don’t bring the bag of chips to the couch. It’s too easy to eat the whole bag.
  • Watch anything that is “crispy”. Crispy food is often fried and has a heavy crust.
  • Have dessert—but just have a sliver, or a bite to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Satisfy your chocolate craving by having a small “fun ” candy bar, or just a few M&M’s or kisses.
  • Eat popcorn for a snack instead of chips. Hold the butter and go easy on the oil to pop the corn.
  • Use diet soda instead of regular soda.
  • Pay attention to the serving s on packages.
  • Order the small or medium drink instead of the large.
  • Don’t super-size!
  • Limit yourself to 1 portion of bread when eating out.
  • Leave off the cheese.
  • When eating at a restaurant-take half of your meal home for the next day.
  • Avoid “cream” soups and sauces.
  • Watch the portion sizes.

Portion Sizes Have Really Changed

A cheeseburger 20 years ago had 333 calories. How many calories do you think are Today's cheeseburgers are much higher in calories? They can range from around 600 to over 1000!

Early Head Start 

Nutrition News

November 2006

From your nutritionist, Ann