How Meal Portions Are Affecting Our Weight
By Lilian Wangare
53% of Americans are overweight but still believe that they have control of their diet, physical activity, and weight. This is according to the IFCF 2013 Food and Health Survey. Closer to home, 43% of Kenyan women living in urban areas are overweight and the numbers are increasing. And even though millennials are obtaining information on nutrition from internet searches, there are still knowledge gaps in health and nutritional education. Furthermore, few of the current generation are seeking sufficient information from health professionals. One of the loopholes that Kenyans need to tie in is the concept of portion control because this has resulted in large consumption of foods low in fiber and high in fats and sugars.
Predictably, as a result, Kenya is now experiencing a rise in diet-related non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and kidney and liver complications as a result of eating large portions of foods high in fat, salt and sugar but low in nutritional value.
We all have flashbacks from our childhood of our mothers holding a cane and threatening to ‘flog’ us if we didn’t finish our food. This was because up until the age of three or four, we had the ability to stop eating when we are full. After that age, this self-regulation of hunger got lost, and for some of us, it was never relearned.
Our problem with portions is also has something to do with the fact that no one likes the concept of “less”. We are conditioned from childhood onwards to want more. However, there are ways we can keep portions within healthy range:
- Measuring out portions before cooking by using measuring spoons, jugs, cups.
- Using smaller plates, cups, bowls or glasses. You can also use smaller cutlery to slow down the speed of eating.
- Increasing our intake of water-drinking a glass of water before a meal will make you less likely to overeat (It is advised to wait 15-30 minutes before eating).
- Measuring out oil when cooking – a little goes a long way, as too much will spoil the taste of food. Oil is also known to have many calories, especially the refined or hydrogenated types (vegetable fat, margarine).
- Eating more vegetables than starch or protein. They are healthier and have lesser calories and contain dietary fiber that can help you feel full for longer.
- Eating fruits and a handful of nuts as snacks in between meals can help keep hunger pangs at bay.
- Controlling our portions when eating out by sharing the meal rather than eating it all by ourselves. You can also pack half the meal away to eat at a later time.
- Relearning our hunger cues – Once we get the signal that we are satisfied, let’s stop eating.
- Practicing mindful eating i.e. eating nutritionally balanced meals, eating when seated not standing, chewing our food slowly instead of in a rush, etc.
Educating ourselves on the right serving sizes is the first successful step to portion control and eventually, weight management.
The good thing is, with a little practice, portion control is easy to adapt to and can help us to attain and maintain a desired and healthy weight, as well as an awesome body figure.
With its protein content and nutrient density, Tuti Probiotic Yogurt by Choice Health Network Kenya can be a nutritious and potentially satisfying snack for people of all ages and improves activity levels. With its quantified packaging of 100,150 and 500ml, it’s a perfect solution for portion control giving you the nutrients you need while still enjoying its wholesome goodness.