Controlling your food choices is such an important part of a healthy diet. And I don’t mean diet as in the four-letter word idea of it, but as in the all-encompassing look at the foods you eat. A healthy diet consists of a wide variety of foods, but not all foods are created equal.
When I started on this path of wellness, one of the first steps my doctor took is to put me on a calorie-controlled diet. Let me be clear: I was not a fan of this step. First of all, the calorie count was much lower than my standard daily intake (which, ahem, is why I needed that control; it’s a vicious cycle) and second of all, most of the foods that I love seemed to be beyond my reach.
The first thing I learned is that protein contains a lot more fat than carbohydrates. Almonds, I would read, make a great filling snack—a crunchy, nutritious alternative when you want some chips—but they are also calorie and fat-dense. So you have to watch portions closely to make sure you don’t overdo it.
How to do it? I found two great ways to keep track of portion sizes:
- The EatSmart Precision Elite Kitchen Scale (www.eatsmartproducts.com, $40) is small and easy to use for those who prefer to measure portions by weight. Using AAA batteries, food can be measured in metric or standard units (up to 15lbs or 7kgs), and the scale can be adjusted to allow for the weight of the food container. The scale also comes with a guide to healthy eating that further discusses healthy eating and calories.
- The Lifesize system (www.lifesizeportions.com, $80) is a system of measuring cups and containers that help you to easily portion out foods into reasonable servings. Measuring devices are sized for carbs, saucy dishes, baked goods, meats, liquids, dairy, toppings and goodies. The set comes with a laminated chart and instructional DVDs to introduce how to get started using the system that quickly becomes second nature.
Both of these portion control devices focus on healthful eating and helping you to retrain your brain (and stomach) into remembering what a healthy portion size looks like. Because portion control isn’t just about restriction; it’s about remembering that in moderation, everything can be a part of a healthy diet.