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Quantum of Food

Deepika Rathod

We tend to eat out regularly due to time constraints. Our fast paced life doesn’t give us enough time to prepare a healthy well balanced meal. However, the truth is that if we want, we can surely take the time out to cook meals in order to stay healthy, active and fit.

When it comes to healthy meals we should stick to moderation because overeating never helps, in fact it creates more issues in the gut. We need to stay mindful of what we eat, be it home-cooked meals or outside food. It simply means being watchful of the portions of food we eat. It is essential for us to look at the quantity and quality of food (nutrient) in order to maintain optimal health. Mindfulness is difficult yet the easiest way to stay healthy, lose weight and keep it off, and moreover it’s a lifestyle change that can change this entire obesity epidemic.

We all struggle with food. The solution to eating our favourite foods could be controlling portions and being mindful, thereby being fair to our bodies and not depriving them. Remember, deprivation or restricting a particular food can result in cravings and ultimately binge attacks. We definitely don’t want to get trapped in that. Portion control simply happens when we start eating our food mindfully. If one feels like having a pizza or an ice cream, we let them have it but teach them mindful ways – eating slowly, chewing every bite thoroughly without any distraction and most importantly without guilt (guilt may just raise cortisol levels). Slow eating for a good 20 minutes makes us feel full faster, as the satiety centre in the brain gets stimulated in 20 minutes and tells our body we are full and need to stop eating. This automatically results in portion control.

Once we get into the habit of being mindful and knowing how much our body really needs, we begin to automatically apply the same when we eat out. The main step in successful portion control is learning the correct serving size. The serving size can usually be found by reading nutritional labels. But the portion is the amount of food or drink a person chooses to consume, if you are hungry eat how much the body needs rather than starving just to keep the portion in control.

Check out these tips to keep the portion to a healthy size:

Measure accurately: Use a measuring cup, tablespoon, teaspoon or food scale to measure foods and beverages. This ensures that you get a right idea on quantum.

 Use portion control dishware: Pick out some plates, bowls, cups and glassware from the kitchen and measure the quantity they hold to make it useful on a daily basis. You might find that a bowl you thought held 150 millilitres of soup actually holds 250 millilitres to 300 millilitres, which means you’ve been eating twice the amount.

Dish out your servings separately: Serve food from the stove onto plates rather than family-style at the table which encourages second servings. Serve one or two tablespoons less than what you usually would at every meal.

Measure oil carefully: Don’t pour oil directly into your cooking pan or over food. Use spoons to measure it in order to understand the amount consumed. You should never consume more than 500 millilitres to 600 millilitres of oil per month.

Control portions when eating out: Eat half or share the meal with a friend. Keep yourself full with enough fibre. Have a mug of vegetable soup or juice prior to eating a meal or add adequate vegetables (stir fried or steamed greens, salads, etc.) to the plate to add volume and stay full, and reduce the dependency on fried or processed stuff.

Listen to your hunger cues: Eat when hungry and stop when satisfied or comfortably full. Try to gauge when you are 80 per cent full and stop there to make sure you don’t overeat and feel heavy.

Chewing: Lastly, make sure you focus on chewing your food well. Once you start doing this you eat less, have better digestion and feel light. It also makes sure that you enjoy each and every bite. When you are full the mind sends signals to the body to stop eating automatically.

That’s what mindfulness is all about, be aware of what you eat and what’s actually good for you.

Hope these tips help you along a healthy weight loss journey.

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