The Enlightened Life: A community blog

Maintaining Healthy Food Proportions

Written by Emilie Smetak, Community blogger | May 25, 2012 11:49 PM

Everything in our society revolves around the misconstrued belief that bigger always leads to better. The prime example of this erroneous conviction can be seen in the surplus food proportions. Hamburgers are sold not only with extra toppings, like tomatoes and lettuce, but also with additional meat patties. Milkshakes recently expanded the typical small, medium and large amount classification and are now being offered in extra large sizes. Realizing the trend, restaurants quickly jumped on board and began endorsing the 'value' meals, which, for an extra dollar or so, include your choice of sides. The result is that very few people understand just how much our daily food consumption differs from a healthy median. The longer people remain unaware to these facts, the greater this margin becomes.

While researching for this article, I was flabbergasted to discover how 'small' an average serving truly is. Compared to the jumbo sized meals promoted by today's leading food distributers, the recommended food proportions seemed no more then taste testers or samples. It was through my research that I came to the conclusion that the majority of our hunger is psychological, meaning our brain is accustomed to set food sizes. As a result until the established food criteria is met, the brain continues to send a false signal to the stomach saying that additional food is needed. Awareness is the first step needed in reversing this psychological habit. No changes can be made before then.

When it comes to pasta and ice cream, the expected serving size greatly exceeds a normal proportion. Pasta dishes are served on giant platters and ice cream scoops are stacked to the ceiling, even though the recommended proportion for both food products is one-half of a cup. A half of a cup is about the size of a woman's fist. Vegetables, fruits, cooked rice and snacks are all suggested to stay within this category.

Meat is another area of high consummation, especially among the male population. A recommended serving of meat (the same is true for fish and poultry) is approximately three ounces. Visualize a deck of cards the next time you are about to choose the size of your meat slice.

The last major food product consumed on a daily basis is cereal. When dry, it has a serving size of one cup. This is about the size of a baseball.

Most likely, you are at least a little surprised after comparing an average proportion size to the massive platters our brains convince us we need. As I stated before, the battle of establishing a healthier lifestyle begins with a mental fight. My hope is that this article highlights the problems with society's consumption habits and gives each person the inspiration to take the first steps in achieving a healthier lifestyle.

Published in The Enlightened Life: A community blog

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