Getting a handle on meal portionsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/portion-control/MY00416
- With Mayo Clinic nutritionists
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.Katherine Zeratsky and Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer K. Nelson, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.N.S.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, she plays a vital role in bringing you healthy recipes and meal planning.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
A St. Paul, Minn., native, she has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978, and is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 60 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees nutrition services, staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the "Mayo Clinic Diet" and the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook." She has been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books, including "Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody," "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook." She contributes to the strategic direction of the Food & Nutrition Center, which includes creating recipes and menus, reviewing nutrition content of various articles, and providing expert answers to nutrition questions.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, she is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She's active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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Nov. 25, 2008
Getting a handle on meal portions
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
First, thanks for the great response to the last posting.
Many of you want to lose weight and you're feeling overwhelmed. You don't want to hear "eat less — exercise more."
You know you have issues with eating, exercise and coping. You know that you need to narrow it down so that when you meet with your health expert you will get meaningful help. Drawing upon last week's blog, let's say you want to focus on portion control.
Studies have shown that if you struggle with controlling how much you eat, you may have been brought up to "clean your plate." You eat fast and don't know that you're full. And, because our environment "super sizes" everything we purchase at the grocery store, at restaurants, and at home, we unconsciously eat more. Furthermore, the types of foods most accessible to us are higher in calories — with lots of unhealthy fat and hidden sugar.
Your health care provider can help you identify which issues are most relevant to you. Beyond the knee-jerk advice of "eat less, exercise more" you and your health care provider will select a strategy that you feel will be most successful. These strategies include:
- Ways to eat more slowly
- Eating more food — but foods that are lower in calories
- Re-sizing those portions that you eat
- How to deal with super-sized eating situations
Eat more slowly. If your usual meal time lasts less than 30 minutes, chances are you are not giving your body the chance it needs to recognize that it is filling up. You are likely to be eating 200 or more unwanted calories by the time you end your day. Slow down by putting a watch or clock in front of you, putting your fork down between bites, chewing and savoring each bite, and eating without any other diversions like TV, newspaper, driving — make it a pure experience.
Eat more food — but foods that are lower in calories. I know you're thinking that if you eat for 30 minutes 3 times daily that you'll eat tons more calories. No. You also need to choose foods that are lower in calories but don't leave you feeling hungry and deprived.
Eat bigger, more filling portions of lower calorie food by emphasizing more vegetables and fruit, eat these foods before a meal; and make sure your plate is half filled with veggies and fruit, one-fourth filled with whole grains or starch, and only one-fourth filled with lean protein.
Re-size portions. If you are an overeater, you don't have a good idea what normal portions are like. It's not your fault, you need to adjust your perception from "super size" to a more normal size portion. Train yourself by using smaller plates, smaller spoons and smaller cups. Try preportioned, single-serve, healthy-type frozen meals only for several days (be sure to have a salad or soup before, a piece of fruit after, and an 8 ounce healthy beverage like skim milk, unsweetened tea or water). Purchase items in smaller packages — or repackage items into single serve zipper bags.
Deal with super-sized situations. These situations include restaurants, parties, office munchies, and even how you serve food at home. Be conscious of what you eat. Slow down and savor each bite. It is helpful to eat more of the lower calorie foods. Keep food as far away from you as possible — stand away from buffet tables, serve food in the kitchen and not at the table, ask for the bread plate to be removed, ask for the "doggie bag" to come with the meal and save half of your meal for later (or for the dog). Limit alcohol because it is not only high in calories, but it also stimulates appetite and weakens your will power.
These tips should help you focus your time and efforts, and your health care provider's ability to provide meaningful help to you. It's certainly better than hearing "eat less, exercise more."
Next week let's focus on the category of exercise. Are you a couch potato? Don't know how to begin an exercise program? Are you an all or nothing exerciser? Your success and the best advice will depend on you narrowing it down!
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