Rants, Rules & Recipes

An Effort to End Nutritional Ignorance

RULE: Portion Control

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good smorgasbord.  At social gatherings, be it a football tailgate, a friend’s birthday, or a cookout celebrating nothing at all,  I was always found by the food table which showcased the treasures each guest brandished as they crossed the threshold.

I found it thrilling to discover the numerous variations of dishes combining the same enticing ingredients: cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise.

Throw in some spinach or artichokes and I would pretend it’s a salad! Add in my deliciously crispy friend, bacon, and I’d be voraciously scoffing down these various concoctions

(concoctions which, by the way, are often ingested by Hollywood actors ‘needing to gain weight for an upcoming role’)

Usually on a large chip.

Why is it that:

A) when we gather, we gather with, for, over and around food?

And

B) the food we choose to gather around gives us clogged arteries, fatty liver, and large waistlines to boot?

Is it because, historically, food was so scarce, that when a hunt or harvest was successful a celebration ensued?

Celebration or not, If you’re like me, if its on my plate, its going down the food shoot. If I put 3 scoops of mac n’ cheese or 3 pieces of meat lovers pizza on my plate, it’s gonna get eaten.  If I order appetizers and an entree and dessert, I’m polishing off all three courses!  So limit what you order. You can always order more.

Limit what you put on your plate.

A trick I employ at home is using a small salad plate instead of a dinner plate, or a coffee mug instead of a bowl for ice cream or cereal. I use smaller spoons and forks as well.  I now sometimes feel like a lilliputian when out to dinner and using the restaurant’s enormous flatware.

But the most important thing I tell my patients about portion control is the PLATE RULE and the quality of their choices (see RULES: Eat Fruits and vegetables at every meal & Brown is Better)

PLATE RULE:

Before serving yourself in a buffet line or as you’re ordering, divide your plate in half in your mind. Half of your plate should be filled with fruits and/or vegetables and these should be eaten first.  (And BTW, potatoes are not vegetables) The other half of the plate should be divided in to quarters.  1/4 is your protein (see section on low fat protein options) and the other 1/4 is your starch (bread, potatoes, pasta, rice OR Dessert—but really your starch should be none of these, but instead, all WHOLE GRAINS); and the 1/4 sized portions should fit in to the palm of your hand.  So a palm-sized serving of fish or chicken, for example and a palm-sized serving of mashed potatoes, if you must. And EITHER a starch OR dessert— because starches all break down in to the same thing: sugar! And all of them have high glycemic indexes (spike your blood sugar indirectly making you store fat).

Eventually, when you are more disciplined, your 1/4 plate of starches should become replaced by more what? You guessed it: Fruits and veggies!

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