Two out of three Americans are obese, and one of the contributing factors to this is the larger portion sizes that exist today. Restaurants and food manufacturers are serving up food on bigger plates and in bigger bags, and Americans are eating these larger portions like they are normal serving sizes. Many people don’t even realize that they are overeating and think that, because it’s on their plate, they should finish it.
For instance, a good example of a food that often is consumed in a larger portion than intended is a bagel. Commonly, a bagel is sliced down the middle and is two halves – which most people eat at one time and consider one serving. However, a bagel’s true serving size is one of those halves. Therefore, consumers think that they are eating one portion, and also think that they are eating less calories than there really is because they would have to double the amount of calories consumed. One large bagel – both sides – has 360 calories. That doesn’t even include the toppings – such as butter, cream cheese or peanut butter – that is often put on top.
On average, Americans are said to eat out more than four meals a week at restaurants. This also contributes to overeating as portions at restaurants are much larger than necessary, and often filled with more fats and oils than a home-cooked meal would have. If you are eating out, split an entrée with your dining partner. Or, you may consider ordering an appetizer instead of an entrée as the portions are much smaller and more comparable to what is considered “normal size.” Additionally, before you go out to eat, drink a glass of water at home as it will give you a full feeling, meaning you will be less likely to overeat.
Growing up, we always were told “don’t spoil your dinner.” Instead of spoiling our dinner, snacks are a necessary part of a balanced diet. Without snacking, we may be sidelined by our ravenous appetite at dinner and therefore eat more than intended because they feel so hungry. It is better to snack on something healthy, such as carrots, a banana or an apple, before dinner to whet the appetite and ensure you are able to consume your meal in moderation. However, it is important to remember that a snack is just that – a snack. Only consume enough for one serving size, rather than eating until you are full. A snack is meant to hold over your hunger until the next meal; not stuff you so you are overeating.
With all of this in mind, along with a healthy fitness routine, we can overcome our country’s habit of overeating and end the obesity epidemic. A healthy lifestyle is essential to a well-balanced life and with a few techniques, it is easy to enjoy restaurant food without having to sacrifice health and wellness.