Big businesses forge strategic partnerships every day, but the recently reported alliance of McDonald’s and Weight Watchers at the same time that National Nutrition Month falls is being viewed as one big fat irony by everyone except the millions of people counting points.
The “everything in moderation approach,” which a program like Weight Watchers emphasizes, means that you can actually eat a healthy allotment of french fries. For more than half a century the approach has proven successful in preventing people from experiencing feelings of deprivation, which have been known to lead to the post-weight loss binge eating bonanzas that other diet or healthy food programs often trigger.
What most people do not realize is that any obsession, including one which involves eating only good foods, can turn unhealthy. The fixation on “good” versus “bad” food is often the culprit that leads s to obsessive-compulsive food behaviors, anxiety, and poor nutrition. Many vegetarians and vegans, who have less incidence of obesity, suffer from deficiencies in zinc, calcium, Vitamin D, Iron, Vitamin B-12, and protein. And while eating organic, non-processed foods may be a good idea, Orthorexia—a compulsive need to eat those foods is similar and can be just as dangerous as Anorexia—is becoming more prevalent among the population of “pure eaters.”
So while there may be revenues associated with striking a deal, Weight Watchers continues to uphold its tried and true balanced eating nutrition methodology. Though the choice to grab or forgo the fast food stuff is ultimately yours to make, staying healthy may have a lot more do with how and how much you eat rather than what you eat. And yes, practicing portion control may be easier said than done if you’re eating for one, but here are some helpful primers that will help you measure quantities and manage intake healthfully.
1. Learn How to Eyeball a Single Serving:
Whether you’re pouring a bowl of cereal or dipping into the guacamole, it helps to be able to size up a serving on spec. The following examples will give help you visualize what a single portion size should look like:
3 ounces meat = A bar of soap
3 ounces fish = A checkbook
1 ounce of cheese = four playing dice
1 medium potato = A computer mouse
2 tablespoons of peanut butter = A ping pong ball
1/2 cup pasta = A tennis ball
2. Weigh It:
For accurate results, a food scale is one of the best investments you can make. Though prices range, even the most basic electronic models will let you measure quantities in ounces and metrics, so there’s not need to opt for the most expensive model.
3. Shrink It:
Studies show that people tend to eat what’s in front of them. Preparing miniature versions of your favorite dishes is a helpful way to stay satiated without over-indulging. Make use of small-sized tins and containers that are on the market and don’t be afraid to experiment—a mini-bread pan is a great way for cooking individually sized meatloaf and lasagna. Just remember, five small sliders is not necessarily better than one giant burger, so you still need to control quantities.
4. Check Your Plates:
Oversized serving ware can cause portion distortion. Create the illusion that you are eating more by sticking to smaller sized plates. A half cup of pasta with Bolognese sauce will seem like a lot more if you eat it off a salad plate, and chances are you will be satisfied with one serving of it.
5. Customize It:
When dining out at restaurants or ordering-in, don’t be afraid to make amendments to the menu. Chefs are often willing to turn entree-sized meals into half-sized portions. Just the same, appetizers are often large enough to be enjoyed as a main meal and if that’s not enough you can always request that they give you a double or even one and a half sized serving of your appetizer order (with pricing adjusted), as the amount (and cost) is still often less than a full size entree.
6. Share It:
Some people go to great pains to avoid overeating—like dousing remaining food in dish soap to render it inedible. Why bother wasting perfectly good eats when you can give it to someone else who will enjoy it. Wrap leftovers up immediately and bring them to a neighbor, friends at work, or give them to a homeless person who may be in need of a good meal.
7. Transform It:
When and if you must buy in bulk, plan a list of recipes ahead of time so you can make the most of the food while it’s fresh. A head of cauliflower may not be ideal for the solo diner but if portioned out properly can turn into soup, puree, or side dishes that you can pack away for another day.
Originally published on Single Edition