Secrets of Portion Control

A New American Diet


Professionals, policymakers, partners, industry, families, and individuals can help others in their journey to make healthy eating a part of their lives. Make small changes to create a healthier eating style. Keep leftovers in single-serving portion containers. MyPlate is a reminder to find your healthy eating style and build it throughout your lifetime. Solid fats have plenty of saturated and trans fats.

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Fatty meats, cream, chicken skin, bacon, and some cheeses contain solid fat. Healthier fats have unsaturated fats and are usually liquid at room temperature, like oils. However, if oils are hydrogenated, they become solid fats. Hydrogenated oils are found in some margarines, packaged desserts, and baked goods. Downsizing portions to healthier sizes allows the body to become accustomed to the correct portion size. Most meals at fast food joints and restaurants are super-sized in terms of portions and calories.

Dinner plates have gotten bigger, too, along with portion sizes. While many people have been taught to "clean their plate," this may mean that 'they're overeating.

Eat from a smaller plate, like a salad plate, for proper portion sizes. Learn the right portion size and serve this amount, not going back for seconds or serving on family-style platters. Keep leftovers in single-serving portion containers. Daily caloric intake depends on a person's age, gender, and activity level. In general, a woman who is not physically active should take in about 1,, calories per day.

An average-sized, active man probably needs 2,, calories. Keep a mental image of the right portion size by imagining everyday items like a baseball, CD, or a deck of cards. This way it's easy to recognize healthy portion sizes. The correct portion size for a potato is about the size of a computer mouse.

That equals 1 cup of vegetables. But restaurant potatoes are likely to be much bigger and loaded with toppings that pile on the calories. When dining out, eat half the potato, or opt for a healthier sweet potato loaded with vitamins A and C instead. One half-cup of pasta is about the size of half a baseball. That's 1 ounce of pasta grains. Be sure to count the number of pasta servings in the tally of grains for the day. Skip the bread if eating more than one serving of pasta.

Choose tomato sauces instead of high-fat creamy sauces. A 1-ounce portion of grains in a pancake or waffle is about the size of a CD. Replace the stack of pancakes with one pancake plus an egg, to get in one serving of grains and one of protein. Or choose whole-grain pancakes, like buckwheat or whole-wheat pancakes. Choose fresh fruit or sugar-free syrup for toppings. Bagels and muffins may seem healthy, but they often contain two to three times the recommended portion size.

Even a low-fat muffin can contain calories. Butter or cream cheese on top can add even more calories and fat. For a single 1-ounce serving of grains, that's about half a medium bagel, the size of a hockey puck. Save calories by switching the bagel for a high-fiber English muffin. Stick to whole grain bagels, and have half of a large one. Each MyWin is a change you make to build your healthy eating style. Find little victories that fit into your lifestyle and celebrate as a MyWin!

Start with a few of these small changes. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Focus on whole fruits. Make half your grains whole grains. Move to low-fat and fat-free dairy. Vary your protein routine. Eat and drink the right amount for you. Create settings where healthy choices are available and affordable to you and others in your community. Professionals, policymakers, partners, industry, families, and individuals can help others in their journey to make healthy eating a part of their lives.

Eating healthy is a journey shaped by many factors, including our stage of life, situations, preferences, access to food, culture, traditions, and the personal decisions we make over time. All your food and beverage choices count. MyPlate offers ideas and tips to help you create a healthier eating style that meets your individual needs and improves your health. All food and beverage choices matter — focus on variety, amount, and nutrition.

Choose an eating style low in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars. Make small changes to create a healthier eating style. MyPlate What is MyPlate? Why Is It Important? Focus on variety, amount, and nutrition. Choose foods and beverages with less saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars. Start with small changes to build healthier eating styles.

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