Restaurants offer enormous plates of food and fast food places allow you to super-size your meals. With all these oversized snacks, drinks, and king-sized food options, it can be difficult to eat the right amount. A recent study actually found that modern portion sizes of popular foods have added an extra 100 calories to every meal. Consuming an extra 100 calories a day can pack on an extra ten pounds a year.
Portion distortion is more of a problem when it comes to sugary drinks with zero nutritional value. These account for a ton of empty calories and artificial sweeteners or refined sugars. Even if you consume 500 calories worth of soda, you’ll still feel hungry because you didn’t give you body protein, fiber, or healthy fats.
Let’s say that go to a restaurant and order a burger with a side of French fries. We are going to assume that you order a soda or sugary beverage, which you will most likely refill, with your meal. This meal can exceed 2,000 calories, which is about how many calories the average person should consume in one day. A 2012 study found that about 96% of American restaurant meals exceeded the USDA recommendations for salt, overall calories, and fat.
Using your hand as a guide for portion control is probably the handiest (pun intended), most effective way to count the calories you’re consuming. Most of us know that counting, and limiting, calories is essential to lose weight, so let’s show you how to use your hands to make things easier.
The size of the fingertip roughly amounts to the size of a teaspoon. This can be used to measure portions such as that of oils, spreads, or butter.
Your thumb, from knuckle to tip, is about the size of a tablespoon. This measurement is often used for things like salad dressings or cheeses. You can also double this for a single serving of peanut butter.
A handful amounts to approximately a one or two ounces, and this is often used to measure snack foods. Remember that one handful equals one ounce of nuts and small candies, whereas two handfuls equal one ounce for chips and pretzels.
The size of your palm equates to about three to four ounces of protein, such as red meat or fish. Keep in mind that a three to four ounce portion is the daily recommendation for protein, and that the size of each person’s palm is different.
Besides using your fist to measure portions for fresh fruit and raw vegetables, it can also help you measure one serving of cooked pasta, rice, or granola. The fist can also be proportionate to the size of your cupped hand.