The following article is a small excerpt from one of my books. I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.
Before I talk about serving sizes and how they can help you to get into your desired shape I’d like to give you a few thoughts. In 1991 a little over 12% of North Americans were considered obese, and now in 2001 that figure has almost doubled. Why? Is it because the portions you receive in fast food stores have doubled? Well before you always had the option of ordering twice the amount of food. Now all you have to do is order the super size. Basically the fast food restaurants are only providing what the customers are asking for, and at the same time providing a platform for you to overeat. But is this the only reason for the rising rate of obesity?
Is it the invention of the computer, which has made us lazy and therefore contributing to our weigh gain? Statistics tend to show otherwise because obesity seems to be higher in cities were computer ownership is lowest. What about the growing number of people who have stopped smoking? They tend to gain weight after quitting because they eat more to satisfy their oral needs. Although this is true and that in over 25 cities tested obesity rose 55 percent, however in 25 cities were smoking increased, obesity rose even more to 59 percent.
I believe we are starting to believe that no matter how fat or unhealthy we become that modern medicine will be able to help us to live longer, so it doesn’t matter what we eat or do, a magic pill will come along sooner or later and make everything better. After all look at the success of the Human Genome Project, and all that it has to promise. Years ago if you thought about eating a bag of chips a night, or a scoop of ice cream, and that you could possibly add 10 pounds to your weight, you chose not to do it. Now with the Non-fattening chips and low fat ice cream, you think nothing of devouring a bag and maybe 2 scoops of double chocolate before bed. You still will gain 10 plus pounds but you can rationalize it because it was low fat and ‘oh well’ sooner or later modern medicine will take away what you have added. This thinking is backwards, because who knows when or even if this magic pill will come along, and even if it does, will it be too late? We must get back to basics!
In our quest to get into shape and lose weight we can often lose track of one of the basic, very fundamental resources that we have to guide us, and that is the food guides that are set out by the government. In them they state that we should eat between 5 to 12 servings of grain products, 5 to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables, 2 to 4 servings of milk products, 2 to 3 servings of meat and 3 to 4 servings of fats and oils. Seems quite easy, but what exactly is a serving? And why is there such a difference in servings required?
Well for starters, women and older adults, who typically need fewer calories, should choose the lower serving numbers. Teenage boys and active men can eat the higher number and children, teen-age girls, active women and sedentary men should choose a serving size in the middle.
Now you just had a muffin for a snack. Does this count as one grain serving? Probably not…you see most commercial muffins can add up to about 3 to 4 servings, yet we think of it as one. Just think of all the extra calories you are getting and thinking you are following the food guides. In today’s competitive fast paced world, we are bombarded with ‘Super size’ this and ‘30% more’ that. As serving sizes get bigger our desire for larger food portions is also growing and so are our waistlines. We may be trying to follow a low-fat diet, yet were eating more calories.
So what is a serving? Well on some packaging labels they will tell you what a serving size is. I just looked on a Super Size bag of Potato chips, and they stated the serving size was 12 chips, yet how may of you would sit down and probably eat 2 or three times that if not the whole bag. One serving is 5 ritz crackers, 16 wheat thins, 55 goldfish, one cup of raisin bran, or ¾ of a cup of Life cereal. Try to measure your serving sizes based on what they say on the packaging labels. If they don’t tell you then you can use the following as a guide;
- 3 ounces of cooked meat, poultry or fish which works out to be the size of a deck of cards or audio cassette tape.
- One cup of cooked rice, pasta or vegetables is about the size of your fist or an ice – cream scoop.
- One and a half ounces of cheese is about the size of four stacked dice or the size of your thumb
- One tablespoons of mayonnaise, peanut butter, or salad dressing looks like a ping-pong ball or ice cube.
- One ounce of nuts is about what you could hold in your cupped hand.
- One Ounce of bread looks like that of a CD case.
If you can visualize the above references when thinking of serving sizes, hopefully this will help you to reduce your overall calories. After all an extra bite here, or gulp there can add up…Do you know that most bags of Microwave popcorn are actually 3 servings? And if you drink one cup of orange juice for Breakfast instead of the serving size of ¾ cup you’ll actually be getting 25 extra calories? Even though these calories are non-fat, they are still extra calories and they do add up.
We have all heard the secret to getting into great shape and losing weight is eating right and exercising. Most of us may have an idea of what we’re doing, but sometimes we just need an extra boost or reminder of what we need to do. So what is eating right? Well for starters it’s eating from all the food groups in balance and getting our proper amount of daily calories required to maintain our bodies.
I’d like to go through the food groups and give you some ideas of what serving sizes are as well as calories, but for a more detailed list you can find most foods in a good food guide or check out my book ‘Get Fit Stay Fit’ for the help you need.
SWEETS AND FATS (3 – 4 servings)
You should try to avoid or use this food group sparingly, because they can add a lot of calories and fat and have very little nutritional value
|Butter||1 tablespoon||100 cal||Canola Oil||1 tablespoon||120 cal|
|Corn Oil||1 tablespoon||120 cal||Cream||2 tablespoons||100 cal|
|Light Cream||2 tablespoons||90 cal||Sour cream||2 tablespoons||60 cal|
|Cream Cheese||2 tablespoons||100 cal||Margarine||1 tablespoon||100 cal|
|Mayonnaise||1 tablespoon||100 cal||Olive Oil||1 tablespoon||120 cal|
|Peanut Oil||1 tablespoon||120 cal||Safflower Oil||1 tablespoon||120 cal|
|Sesame Oil||1 tablespoon||120 cal||Honey||1 tablespoon||60 cal|
|Jam||1 tablespoon||50 cal||Maple Syrup||1 tablespoon||50 cal|
|While sugar||1 tablespoon||50 cal|
MILK, YOGURT AND CHEESE (2 – 4 servings)
Consuming from this food group will provide you with a good source of protein, calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals.
|Milk 1%||1 cup||100 cal||Milk 2%||1 cup||100 cal|
|Milk skim||1 cup||80 cal||Milk whole||1 cup||140 cal|
|Yogurt (lowfat )||1 ½ oz||140 cal||Yogurt (non fat)||1 cup||130 cal|
|Blue Cheese||1 ½ oz||150 cal||Brie||1 ½ oz.||140 cal|
|Cheddar||1 ½ oz||170 cal||Cottage Cheese||1 ½ oz.||110 cal|
|Feta Cheese||1 ½ oz||110 cal||Monterrey Jack||1 ½ oz.||160 cal|
|Mozzarella Cheese||1 ½ oz||120 cal||Pamesan Cheese||2 tbl||60 cal|
|Swiss Cheese||1 ½ oz||160 cal|
MEAT, POULTRY, FISH, DRY BEANS, EGGS AND NUTS (2 – 3 servings)
In this food group you’ll find good sources of Protein, B vitamins, iron and zinc. You should be careful to choose lean cuts of meat, and be careful of eggs, high fat nuts, and fried fish or seafood packed in oil. Also try to avoid processed meats like bologna, salami, hot dogs, sausages and bacon, they are generally higher in fat.
|Hotdog||One||180 cal||ground beef (lean)||3 oz||240 cal|
|Filet Mignon||3 oz||180 cal||ground beef (reg||3 oz||250 cal|
|Ham||3 oz||130 cal||Spareribs||3 oz||200 cal|
|Pork tenderloin||3 oz||170 cal||Chicken Br. (skinless)||3 oz||140 cal|
|Chicken breast||3 oz||170 cal||Ground Turkey||3 oz||200 cal|
|Turkey wt. (skinless)||3 oz||120 cal||Cod||3 oz||90 cal|
|Lobster||3 oz||80 cal||Salmon||3 oz||150 cal|
|Shrimp||3 oz||80 cal||Tuna(canned/water)||3 oz||100 cal|
|Tuna – fresh||3 oz||120 cal||Black beans||½ cup||110 cal|
|Kidney beans||½ cup||110 cal||Pinto beans||½ cup||120 cal|
|Refried beans||½ cup||135 cal||Tofu||3 oz||90 cal|
|Egg White||One||15 cal||Egg Yolk||One||15 cal|
|Almonds||1/3 cup||280 cal||Cashews||1/3 cup||260 cal|
|Peanut Butter||2 tbl.||190 cal||Peanuts dry roasted||1/3 cup||280 cal|
|Sunflower seeds||1/3 cup||270 cal||Walnuts||1/3 cup||210 cal|
VEGETABLES (3 to 5 servings)
Vegetables are a good source of Vitamins A and C, folate, Iron, magnesium, and beta carotene. You should be careful when you eat vegetables that you don’t fall into the trap of putting on sauces, dips and dressings that are full of fat and add a lot of extra calories.
|Green pepper||One med.||20 cal||Broccoli||One stalk||50 cal|
|Carrot||One med.||35 cal||Celery||Two stalks||20 cal|
|Cauliflower||½ cup||12 cal||Corn||One med.||100 cal|
|Cucumber||1/3 med||15 cal||Eggplant||½ cup||15 cal|
|Green Beans||½ cup||20 cal||Lettuce||1 ½ cups||15 cal|
|Lettuce – Iceberg||1 ½ cups||10 cal||Mushrooms||5 med.||20 cal|
|Onion||½ cup||30 cal||Peas||½ cup||60 cal|
|Potato baked||1 med||160 cal||Salsa||2 tbl.||15 cal|
|Snow Peas||½ cup||35 cal||Spinach||½ cup||20 cal|
|Sweet Potato||1 med||130 cal||Tomato||1 med||30 cal|
|Zucchini||½ cup||20 cal|
FRUITS (2 – 5 servings)
Between 2 and 5 servings of fruit a day will help to give you a good source of carbohydrates, vitamins A and C and Potassium. Generally all fruits are good for you but you should try to avoid fruits that are packed in syrup or fruit drinks, they are packed with sugar.
|Apple||1 med.||80 cal||Apricots||Two||70 cal|
|Avocado||1/3 med||90 cal||Banana||1 med||120 cal|
|Cantaloupe||¼ med||45 cal||Grapefruit||½ med||45 cal|
|Orange||1 med||60 cal||Grapes||½ cup||60 cal|
|Honeydew||1/10 med||45 cal||Mango||½||70 cal|
|Papaya||½||60 cal||Peach||1 med||35 cal|
|Pear||1 med||100 cal||Pineapple||½ cup||40 cal|
|Strawberries||8||45 cal||Watermelon||2 cups||90 cal|
|Dried Dates||5 med||110 cal||Raisins||¼ cup||110 cal|
|Apple Juice||¾ cup||80 cal||Orange Juice||¾ cup||80 cal|
BREAD, CEREAL, RICE AND PASTA (5 – 12 servings)
You should try to consume between 5 and 12 servings per day. This will give you a good source of complex carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Once again you should be careful of what you add to this group like sauces, spreads and butter. They may help to add some flavour but they are high in fats. Also don’t be fooled by the words low fat, this may be true but they make up for it with sugar and that adds up to lots of extra calories.
|Rolled oats||½ cup||100 cal||Brown Rice||½ cup||70 cal|
|White Rice||½ cup||111 cal||Cornmeal||½ cup||120 cal|
|Baked Potato||1 med||160 cal||Bagel||½ med||200 cal|
|Crackers Wheat||Two||30 cal||French Bread||1 slice||100 cal|
|Pita bread (white)||½ med||160 cal||Rice cake||1 piece||60 cal|
|Tortilla (corn)||2||120 cal||White Bread||1 slice||70 cal|
|Whole Wheat Bread||1 slice||90 cal||Macaroni||½ cup||100 cal|
|Spaghetti||½ cup||90 cal||Egg Noodles||½ cup||110 cal|
|Popcorn||1 cup||60 cal||Potato chips||18 or 1 oz||150 cal|
|Pretzel||1 oz||110 cal||Tortilla chips||18 or 1 oz||150 cal|
So there you have a rough breakdown of the food groups and some examples of serving sizes and calorie content. So how do you apply this? Well when planning your meals first decide what group you are in, if you are in the high end of recommended servings low end or in the middle. And if you have figured out your daily calorie needs properly by either using the calorie counter on my web site or from my book, then it’s just a matter of going down the lists and planning on what you should be eating for the day and then adding up the calories to make sure you are getting the proper amount. If your calorie calculations are too high then you may have to start to substitute lower calorie foods or here comes the tricky part….Increase your activity level to allow you to eat the higher calories you choose to eat.
I explain a lot of these techniques in my book‘Get Fit Stay Fit’.
I know you want to get in shape and look great. Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STORE where you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !