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Stopping The Portion Creep

To “creep” means to move slowly and carefully in order to avoid being heard or noticed. And creeping is exactly what is happening to our portion sizes. The slow move is going unnoticed by most of us.

Stopping portion creep

Over the last two decades portion sizes have increased 25%. While that may not seem like a lot, the consequences of these increased calories are that 33% of our population is overweight or obese. (1) Not only is this devastating to our health, but the kids that are affected by this subtle portion creep never even knew it was coming.

By identifying some situations that are the biggest offenders, we can stop the increasing portion sizes and start reversing the obesity epidemic.

1) Mindless munching leads to bigger portions

THE PROBLEM:

Snacking on finger food has become so habitual, we often don’t notice it’s happening. We walk by a candy bowl and grab one piece. We reach into a box of cereal and take a handful. We start preparing a meal and nibble on the scraps. Mindless snacking is now such a passive, automated activity, recalling what you ate during the day is no longer accurate.

Recently I purchased a super sized bag of pre-popped popcorn and weighed it to see how much my of it my kids would mindless snack on. The results are here.

THE SOLUTION:

For mindless snacking, the most effective strategy is to limit or eliminate snacking. This is a huge change for most American families, so start with 1 or 2 intentional snacks per day, pre-served, at a table. In this intentional snack, make sure there are two food groups present for ultimate satiety. There is no need for the snack to just be crackers, or popcorn. But add fiber, fat, fruits, veggies, or protein to make it a complete snack and fill the gaps in your diet.

2) Flavor Explosion {Everything tastes so dang good}

THE PROBLEM:

Extra Salt, sugar, and fat is drenching our food supply making our processed food taste so good that it’s impossible to put down. Most of us can eat twice as many roasted & salted nuts as raw nuts. The salt just keeps us reaching for more. The same can be said about chips (the salt and fat), crackers (the sugar and fat) and all sorts of food that once were easy to put down after a bite or two.

THE SOLUTION:

Whole foods is the #1 antidote for highly palatable, fake foods. Food closest to it’s natural form and hasn’t been treated at a processing plant with flavor enhancers, sugars, chemicals, salt and extra fat won’t ruin our signals to stop eating.

3) Lack of BALANCE {Missing Nutrients leads to lack of satiety}

THE PROBLEM:

Once we, or our kids, get hooked on a food, we tend to go overboard on that food. Pasta and bread are the perfect example of overdoing one food group. Pasta, bread, and other wheat products do not send signals of satiety as it lacks the balance of fiber, nutrients, protein, and fat. The more complex our meals are, those signals can function properly.

THE SOLUTION:

The solution to a lack of balance is eating from every food group. There is a problem when we live on Top Ramen alone. Adding vegetables, fruit, protein, and grains to every single meal will ensure adequate nutrients that lead to satiety. See our choose myplate products to remind yourself at each meal of this goal.

4) Distractions lead to greater portion consumption

THE PROBLEM:

When you are distracted, especially today with digital distractions, eating two, three or even four portions of a food is not hard to do. I’ve seen this at the breakfast table more than any other meal. If you bring a phone to the table to catch up on your social media feed or read emails, you don’t notice how many servings you are consuming, especially if you leave a box of cereal within arms reach. The refills can go on and on and on. Watching TV, eating during a movie, or even talking on the phone is distraction enough to continue eating several portions of your food.

THE SOLUTION:

Eliminate the distractions. Cut the problem off at the source. Don’t bring phones to the table and don’t bring food to the couch. When it’s meal time, commit to being present with your food, sit at the table, and pay attention to the amount you are eating.

5) Portion Distortion

THE PROBLEM:

What was once a reasonable amount of food to consume as a portion has ballooned to a new normal! No one is immune to this. Even those of us who grew up seeing 8 ounce cans of soda, and a sleeve of popcorn at the movies, things that 16 ounce soda and a bucket of popcorn is normal. It has become so commonplace we aren’t even questioning it.

THE SOLUTION:

One of the first defenses for this creep up in portion sizes over the decade is awareness. Just knowing what has happened to our food supply can help us make smarter choices.

A second solution is to cut things in half from the beginning. Cut bagels in half, muffins in half, and even hamburgers in half. Getting used to eating half as much as what is presented takes practice, and then feels normal once again.

Presentation of Food {Rather than self serving}

THE PROBLEM:

When presented with more food, we eat more! There have been studies that confirm when someone else dishes up our food, we’re going to eat more of it. {Does Exposure to Bigger Portion Sizes Lead to Weight Gain} The problem we have today is that we are letting people serve us at every turn. At a restaurant, at dinner parties, and even when we purchased pre-packaged foods we are letting the food companies serve us the amount they think is appropriate {who eats 1 Poptart when TWO come in the package!}

THE SOLUTION:

Serve yourselves, and measure to be sure. Just serving our own food, making it at home, and eating at home, etc. may not be enough in the beginning. We may need to weight and measure our food to check that we aren’t getting tricked into serving more food just becaue we’re used to bigger portions.

Supersizing of ALL thing in America

THE PROBLEM:

We believe bigger is better, and we’re making everything gigantic! Our plates have grown from 8 inches to 12 inches. The average house size has grown over 1000 square feet. We have double the kitchen space and our kitchen cupboards are twice as deep as they once were. Our national debt is climbing. Humans are getting taller, and of course most devastating is everyone is getting fatter.

THE SOLUTION:

Own smaller things. Buy smaller plates and dishes. When you are tempted to buy bigger things, don’t believe the lies that it is always better.

  1. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/overweight-obesity