The Healthy (Weight Loss) Portion Plate!
Portions have grown in astounding ways during the past few decades. Sometimes restaurants meals can be enough to feed two people! Not surprisingly, the average adult's waistline, weight and overall body mass index (BMI) have ballooned, according to a 2018 report by the National Center for Health Statistics.
While super-sizing is clearly not an option, portion sizes are still a puzzle to many. An apple or a banana might be a clear portion, but the right amount of other food to eat in the interests of staying healthy is bit more difficult to assess. So to mitigate this portion distortion and regain your health, or just slim down, portion control plates (for food quantity) might be your simplest solution.
While you’re at it, you’ll want to look at food quality. Get enough fruit and vegetables on your plate to receive sufficient daily alkaline elements in your diet. Nutrient density is also important and must be considered with a variety of foods in the right amounts to meet our daily nutritional needs.
None of this needs to be complicated. Basically, you can follow a healthy approach by sectioning your plate and pairing each food group into a well-balanced meal. A good approach is:
Fill a quarter of your plate with whole grains.
Fill one quarter plate with good sources of protein.
Fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables.
Use healthy oils (avocado, coconut, butter, olive) in moderation.
Drink plenty of spring water
Why does this work? Because it will encourage you to fill half your mealtime plate with healthy macronutrient properties, and asks you to consider the quality and quantity of foods you consume.
What Are Refined Grains?
I am including an entire section on grains (from brucebradley.com) because of their complicated (modern processing) effect on our bodies.
Understanding whole grains can be a challenge, but let’s start at the beginning and answer some simple, yet complicated questions.
Refined grains have been stripped of the bran and germ parts of the original three intact grain components. The remaining endosperm is then pulverized into flour and considered the most highly processed form of grains, including products such as white bread, pasta, white rice, and pearled barley.
Processed grains contain added calories with no health benefits, and are high on the glycemic index, meaning they will raise your blood sugar very quickly. This creates unnatural energy fluctuations, food cravings and mood swings (as well as those famous emotional eating episodes).
Difference Between Intact, REAL Whole Grains and Whole Grains
REAL (intact) whole grains are grains in their natural state, with all three parts of the grain still intact. Whole grains on the other are slightly processed, still containing all three parts of the grain that’s been pulverized into flour. Some examples include 100% whole wheat bread, pasta, or crackers. But even there, critical components such as oils and fiber will be affected. Understanding the distinction between unprocessed, real whole grains, and whole-grain flours, is shown below:
As you can see, whole-grain flour still contains all three parts of the original grain, but being part refined, they’re not as healthy as real (intact) whole grains. This is the key difference in vibrant health: whether a grain is highly processed or just slightly processed—it alters the calorie density and glycemic load—and therefore affects our health in small or greater capacity.
Consider also whether you purchase organic or conventional grains. When grains still contain pesticides, herbicides or GMO’s, they can harm us further.
Let’s realize that refined grains abound in modern foods, and disease abounds in those who eat many of these foods. Make the connection! You can find whole (fully intact) grains in most grocery stores. An even healthier option would be to buy them organic.
Intact grains include wheat berries, barley, quinoa, buckwheat groats or kasha—basically, any grain where you can see the kernel or seed.
Here are just a few examples of intact grains to select:
– Whole quinoa over quinoa flakes or flour
– Regular brown rice over white or instant varieties
– Steel cut oats or oat groats over instant or finely milled oat cereals
– Hulled or unhulled barley over barley flour
– Wheat berries over whole wheat flour
– Buckwheat groats or kasha over buckwheat flour
Portion Control Plates
Portion control is the act of being aware of the amount of food you eat and adjusting it based on its nutritional value and the goals of your eating plan. Overly large or unbalanced portion sizes can easily undermine weight loss efforts.
This plate below will generally NOT harm you or put on excess weight.
Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are big winners in nutrient density. Carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, berries, apples, cherries, pomegranates, and oranges are all superfoods. Other “portioned” nutrient-dense foods include salmon, tuna, trout, dairy products, oatmeal, whole (non-isolated) grains, or beans. Try to stay away from energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods including those high in sugar and fat such as pastries, processed lunch meats, processed cheeses, ice cream, candy, soda, potato chips, and corn chips. In other words: Junk food.
If you need a specific portion control plate to help you visualize, here is one example of a porcelain plate:
Source: Amazon.com; Price: $29.98 for one plate (just an example of many)
What about busy schedules?
I hear you! Being busy is perhaps our biggest nutritional downfall. That’s why you have to prepare for all eventualities. If you’re on the go a lot, try buying a portioned plate that travels. This example below is made from natural organic (food grade) reusable wheatgrass fiber. Take it to work, or on your day trip. You’ll certainly avoid McDonalds on the way and you’ll end up feeling better.
Source: Amazon.com; Price: $28.99 for a 5-pack (just an example of many)
For at home, prepare ahead of time. Here’s a good way to batch cook some healthy foods in advance so you don’t get “caught” cheating while hungry.
If eating at a restaurant, you can always use serving sizes based on your hand:
All the best in your “portioned” journey!