Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sometimes, Bigger is Just Bigger

The Stockton Record out in California (that haven of all things slim) has a great article about portion sizes. Typically restaurants serve enough food per plate to feed two people. The article, written by Sara Cardine, discusses how these large servings are beginning to affect what we eat at home. Namely, Americans are all out of whack when it comes to determining a portion size. It even comes with a handy-dandy guide to portion sizes. Some myths the article addresses as well:

Myth: Eating the correct portion sizes and amounts will never fill me up.
Fact: The stomach has an amazing ability to stretch and shrink to accommodate your intake. When you eat less, eventually a shrunken stomach will register fullness faster.

Myth: I'm a man and I need my meat.
Fact: "People think of protein as only meat," restaurant consultant John Britto said. "There are lots of other proteins in your diet." These include beans, nuts, seeds and eggs.

Myth: Now I'll never be able to eat out.
Fact: When you order your food at a sit-down restaurant, ask for a to-go box and put the extra aside for future meals.

Myth: It'll cost an arm and a leg to buy all those fruits and vegetables.
Fact: Buying produce in season will cut costs. Frozen versions, packed with all the same nutrients, are another option. Bad food and big portions can cause serious health risks in the long run, dietitian Rosario Aguirre said. "Is that worth the money?"

It's funny this article comes out now. I was watching my boyfriend's youngest daughter eat last night. She had an appetizer, an entree and dessert. But she only had a little bit of each. She started with mozzarella sticks, leaving some on her plate simply because she was done. I thought she was full, but no, she then ate about half her pizza. Finally, she finished up with a small serving of ice cream. While her food choices aren't all I could wish for, I love her eating style. Somehow she has a handle on how much she can eat of any one course and still save room for what's coming up. Not me. I eat until it's gone. Then, if I'm too full, I soldier on, since I ordered it, the food is so good, this is my favorite part of the meal, or whatever excuse pops into my head.

I don't think I need add that my boyfriend's daughter is naturally skinny. Which prompts me to ask, how many "naturally thin" people instinctively have better habits? I'm sure hereditary, and sometimes medical conditions play a role in our weight, as well, but perhaps there is more in our control than we realize. Perhaps part of "hereditary fat" is simply bad habits that are passed on from generation to generation. I'm going to try to eat like my boyfriend's daughter this week and see what happens.

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