Portion Distortion

by Kids of Steel

Eating healthy can be a challenge, we are constantly being bombarded by fad diets and next great weight loss plan. As Registered Dietitian, I can reassure that maintaining a proper diet is not hard as one would think. The key is to eat a balanced, varied, and moderate diet. But what does that mean?

- A balanced diet is one that consists of all the food groups; fruit, grains (whole grains), protein, vegetables, and dairy. If that sounds overwhelming think of it like this; the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Splinter are a team of good doers and each member has a special skill. When they all fight together they are stronger. The food groups are the same way. Eat all of the food groups and you have a better team fighting to keep you healthy. 

- A varied diet means that you eat a variety of foods within each food group. For example, if you only eat pasta or bread, that is not a varied diet. You should include brown rice and quinoa. Also, an important part of variety is choosing the better option. This means that you opt for a side salad, instead of a large order French fries.

- Having a moderate diet is the real trick because of portion distortion. Dinner plates have increased over time and so have portion sizes. This makes appropriate portions seem small and discouraging. To put it in perspective, the typical serving of pasta in restaurants is actually 2-4 times a recommended serving. The average person that consumes a 2000 calorie diet, only needs at most 6 servings of grains for the entire day. A serving of pasta is a ½ cup which is the size of a baseball.

Having an appropriate diet does not mean you need to go to the extreme. It is about balance, variety, and moderation. I challenge you to visit ChooseMyPlate.gov and review portion sizes of the 5 food groups then follow this link to look at how portion sizes have changed. As a comparison, pour your favorite cereal into bowl like you would normally do, then pour that cereal into a measuring cup and compare how much you really eat.

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