The Details on Serving Size: Why Portions Matter
Understanding the dynamics of serving sizes and the role they play with proper nutrition.
We’ve heard the phrases “everything in moderation” and “portion control” used in conversations about eating a balanced diet for years now, but do you know what it really means?
Understanding the dynamics of serving sizes and the role they play with food, drink, and your body may be the key you’ve been missing in your goal to maintain proper nutrition.
The term “balanced diet” in itself can cause confusion because not all foods are made equal, which means you shouldn’t be eating equal parts meat, dairy, vegetables, and grains every day. Different foods provide our body with energy and health benefits in various ways. The “balance” comes from understanding both what is recommended by health professionals, and your own personal needs.
Let’s take a closer look at protein. Our bodies need protein to support many aspects of the physical body, particularly muscles, and to derive energy. Meat in general is a high source of protein, and a common meal staple. Other sources of protein include eggs, nuts, dairy products, and legumes such as beans and lentils. Each source contains varying levels of protein, as well as other nutrients – some of those additional nutrients can be either beneficial or harmful in greater quantities. For example, four lean meatballs about the diameter of a quarter and a cup of lentils both equal 12 grams of protein. Meatballs have a higher fat content, and lentils have higher fibre and iron contents. It may be tempting to pair those 4 meatballs up with the entire cup of lentils to double the protein and reap the rewards of both foods. This is where portions become important because the body does not store extra protein as protein, instead converting it to energy and burned off or stored as fat. You need to know how much protein your body can adequately use before it’s stored as fat.
That’s just protein. Considerable comparisons can be within each nutrient and food group from meat and alternatives all the way to our superheroes fruits and vegetables. How do you know what portions are right for you; for your body, your lifestyle, and your health and wellness goals?
To start, become savvy at reading nutritional information labels. The information provided for your favourite macaroni and cheese may only be for a quarter of the total package contents, not the half that you usually eat. Understand what kind of fuel your body is really getting out of your meal choices. Know how much sugar is in that medium soft drink with your combo. Use smaller plates and add a generous serving of vegetables before you serve up your meat and potatoes. A note on vegetables: every dressing, tablespoon of oil or dollop of butter adds fat and sugar to your vegetables. Talk to a health professional to find out what your ideal portion sizes are as these vary by age, weight, fitness goals, and regular routines in addition to the foods’ nutritional value themselves.
MVP Meals are designed with optimal health in mind from the hearts of a holistic nutritionist and professional chef. Good-for-you food that tastes great in healthy portions! Take a look at our menu and place your order today!