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Tips to Fight Obesity Using Proper Portion Sizes

Americans are overweight. Research shows than more than sixty percent of Americans weigh more than they should. The U.S. Surgeon General has even called obesity a national epidemic. Fueled by a number of factors, one of obesity’s main contributors is portion size.

It’s not hard to see that portion sizes are growing in this country. “Extra large,” “supersize,” and “value meals” are prominently marked on menus aimed to save you and your family money, but not inches on your waistlines. In restaurants and at home, servings are often double or triple the recommended amount of food. This is largely due to the fact that most Americans overestimate portion sizes.

Eating the right portions size is the key to helping you and your family maintain a healthy weight. The following are tips to help you in your homes or on the go:

• Read food labels. Knowing how many servings are in a particular food is an important step in making healthy nutrition choices.

• Know common portion sizes. Some foods like fresh fruits and vegetables don’t come with food labels. In that case, comparing a serving to a common object can help you visualize the right amount of food to eat. Some common serving comparisons include:
o Deck of cards = one serving of meat
o Light bulb = one serving of raw vegetables
o Tennis ball = one serving of fresh fruit
o Small can of tuna = one serving of a bagel or roll
o 2 AA Batteries = one serving of cheese

• Find out how many servings you and your children need. Visit the USDA’s MyPyramid Plan http://www.mypyramid.gov/mypyramid/index.aspx to see how many calories and servings of each food group you need daily. Your number of servings will depend on age, height, weight, and activity level.

• Purchase pre-packaged one serving snacks. Buy small bags of your favorite snacks and then eat just one.

• Split a meal at a restaurant. Share your meal with a friend or box up half for another time.

• Use smaller plates and serving utensils during meals. Studies show that people will eat smaller portions when the serving spoons and plates are smaller.

• Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eating more fruits and vegetables means you’ll probably have less room for foods higher in fat and calories.

• Don’t deprive yourself. Eat the foods you enjoy, just watch your serving size.

The above information is based on the Avoid Portion Distortion PowerPoint and other Learning ZoneXpress products.

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