Mastering serving sizes is essential when following a balanced eating plan. Try these suggestions to bring mindfulness to your serving sizes....
- When serving the evening meal always serve your food on a dinner plate, rather than in a bowl, so that you have a visual cue for serving sizes.
- When serving your dinner enjoy the equivalent of one fist‐full of cooked starchy carbohydrate (pasta, rice, mashed or baked potato), one ‘palm’ of protein (fish, meat, or chicken) and bountiful amounts of salad or vegetables. If you are consuming vegetarian proteins such as tofu or beans you will need to consume the equivalent of a ‘heaped’ palm‐full.
Chewing each mouthful of your evening meal will assist you in the following ways:
- By chewing each mouthful to near liquid you are allowing the digestive enzyme amylase to begin the breaking down of carbohydrates.
- Chewing your food means that the partially digested food that your stomach receives is easier to digest further, allowing your body to absorb essential vitamins and minerals for food as fuel – the primary reason that humans need to eat regularly.
- It allows time for your stomach and brain to communicate to each other. It is very difficult to overeat, or return for seconds, when you eat at a moderated and mindful pace.
If you have a tendency to rush through your meals and over‐consume past recommended serving sizes, try the following:
- Make your evening mealtime about eating dinner. Set the table, turn on some music, switch off the television, and put away your book. It does not matter if you have company for dinner or if you are dining alone – It is the process of being present with your evening meal, smelling it, savouring it and enjoying it.
Assuming that you have a meal that has been portion controlled through sensible serving sizes, and that you are chewing each mouthful thoroughly, practicing ‘The Rule of Halves’ is another great tool for slowing the pace of your meal to avoid overeating.
The Rule of Halves
- Imagine that your starchy carbohydrates, your protein serve, and your salad/vegetable portion has been divided into half.
- Enjoy each of these halves, chewing each mouthful well.
- When you have consumed half of everything on the plate, place down your knife and fork and take three slow, deep breaths. Ask yourself “Am I still hungry?”
- If the answer is yes – divide the remaining food on your plate into half again, making sure you consume half the starchy carbohydrates, half the protein and half the salad/vegetables. Avoid favouring one food group.
- Finish the designated halves, put your knife and fork down, take three deep breaths and ask yourself “am I still hungry?”
- Continue on in this manner. Give yourself permission to enjoy your meal finishing everything on your plate, if that is what your appetite demands. Otherwise, when you notice you are full, you may finish your meal.
This may be practiced alone, with family, or in company. It is a wonderful tool to use when eating out for regulating your food intake.