Friday, July 6, 2012

The Serving Size Experiment

Um, so it's hot outside. What the...?! I can't even handle it. I love me some summer, but when the temps are so sweltering that you can't even sit at the beach, yeah. That's not fun. But I'm glad the sun is shining, and I'm glad my flowers are (barely) blooming. And I'm glad the sky is blue for miles. That I will always take, regardless of the temperature.

Speaking of taking: How much do you take out of the peanut butter jar? Two tablespoons, or a couple of scoops? And how big was the last burger you ate? Was it three ounces of meat, as is the recommended serving size? I discovered that number while reading "Healthy Portion Sizes: You’ll Never Believe How Many Fries You're 'Supposed' to Be Eating Vs. How Many You’re Served" in the June issue of Glamour.

If you're wondering, you should only be eating 10 or 11 skinny fries. Or what amounts to .75 ounces of French fry action, according to the article. The last time you ordered a side of fries, I'm betting you got more than ten or eleven.

And I bet your burger was bigger than three ounces. 
The day I read the article, we decided to eat burgers for dinner. That's what you do on the 4th of July, right? It's the typical American meal. So I busted out my OXO food scale to make sure that we weren't patty-ing up more than our fair share.

Sorry if raw meat makes you gag.

The bowl itself clocked in at five ounces, so that's why you're seeing a total of eight ounces on the screen. That truly is three ounces of meat and needless to say, it made small burgers...

...small burgers that were still big enough to satisfy our hunger pangs. Proof that  we don't need as much food as we think we do. 
And it's this point in the article that really hit home for me. I eat pretty good throughout the week. But if I catch myself at a super ravenous point in time, I can eat mindlessly if I'm not careful. And by mindlessly, I mean without consideration for serving size. This is especially true when it comes to carbs in box or bag, otherwise known as tortilla chips, crackers and popcorn. I always try to pick the best of the bunch when I'm shopping, but no matter how good the product is, if you eat too much of it, it's still bad for you.

Check out this popcorn I picked up at the store:

Boom Chicka Pop. <—Is that not the best name for popcorn ever? And it's literally popcorn, sea salt and sunflower oil. Three ingredients, all good. Serving size? Three and a half cups.

That's a lot of popcorn.

According to WebMD, it's also spot-on in terms of an appropriate serving size. Sometimes you have to be careful of when it comes to packaged goods. Two servings are often combined in a single-serving package. Or a single serving of something is distorted based on the ability to sell it individually. The Glamour article lists M&Ms as an example. Specifically, a normal bag versus the fun-size bags. Both of which clock in at individual servings.

In the end, I only ate one cup of the popcorn with a gigantic salad onto which I put but one tablespoon of dressing (not the recommended two as outlined on the bottle).

I very easily could have eaten an entire serving...and then some, had I simply set the bag next to my plate whilst I ate my salad.

And so, here I sit. Three days after reading the article. Three days of eating more mindfully, of challenging myself to be more aware of serving sizes. More so than ever. Why? What's with this serving size experiment?

Pure curiosity. The author of the article claims to have lost four pounds after the end of her own experiment. She switched up her diet, and maintained her week of workouts. Four pounds, gone.

Would this happen to me, too? I'm still five pounds up from my pre-baby weight. Am I working hard to shed them? Sure. Am I realistic about those five pounds...yes, as in, it's not critical that I lose them immediately because I feel great. My clothes fit. I'm healthy. But still, I'm curious.

And I could use a week of eating more mindfully.

Who couldn't, really.

Question: Is there something you eat that, eat way more of than you should in terms of its serving size?


Erin Madore said...

Great article Tara. Kinda wish I read it before I inhaled a HUGE bowl of Chipolte. But tomorrow is another day with more chances to make the right decisions regarding serving size. Usually this isn't an issue for me as I live off veggies and fruit but I still need to be mindful of how much I put into my body. I need to remember to fuel my body not feed my emotions. Thanks for the encouragement, good luck on your own experiment :)

adailydoseoffit said...

Chipotle is so good! Now I'm craving it. Sounds like you eat a pretty healthy diet, so an overindulgence on occasion is probably a-OK, girl! Don't fret...just enjoy! Tomorrow is a new day, you're right.

Michelle said...

I do measure out peanut butter because otherwise I could inhale it.  I've found that spraying a tablespoon with nonstick cooking spray and then scooping out the peanut butter works great.  It also works really well when you're baking with sticky ingredients like honey.
Also, that popcorn looks great.  I'll have to be on the lookout for it!

adailydoseoffit said...

GOOD IDEA! Jars of peanut butter are so dangerous...

Simply Life said...

so interesting -I rarely pay attention to serving size but should probably think about it more! 

adailydoseoffit said...

It can be very eye-opening...especially when it comes to things like meat and beverages. Try being super observant for a week. See what you find out!

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