Food portion sizes seem as though they should be far more straightforward than they actually are. However, with our plates getting steadily bigger, most of us have lost touch with how much of a given food is a reasonable amount. We’ve come to think that the right amount is as much as we can get of our favorite dish without risking exploding at the table! The truth of the matter is that a balanced diet is shaped very differently and can leave us feeling satisfied without leading to a lecture from our doctors about how we need to lose belly fat.
Learning About Food Portion Sizes
Scales, measuring cups, and measuring spoons may all be great for making sure that you are adding the right quantities of ingredients when you’re following a recipe, but they’re not as handy when you’re trying to decide how much meat is appropriate to eat at a single sitting or whether or not you’ve had enough servings of veggies today.
Remember that there is a big difference between food portion sizes and actual serving sizes. This difference is very important as you gauge your calories as well as how much nutrition you are receiving in a day and whether or not that is properly balanced.
Tips to Help Understand Food Portion Sizes
Fortunately, there are a few helpful ways to remember just how much of each type of food you should consider to be a serving. They are not only easy to remember but they are also far easier to envision than a standard unit of measurement such as an ounce or a cup.
Indeed, the most accurate way to make sure that you have the perfect food portion sizes of a given food is to weigh it or measure it with an accurate cup or spoon. Precision is, after all, quite important, as eating too little can mean that you are not providing your body with an adequate amount of the nutrients that are essential to your good health.
However, if you eat too much, you could risk exceeding the recommended daily amounts of certain nutrients and calories. This can cause your weight and your health to suffer, particularly if it happens on a regular basis.
Keeping Things Practical
Equally, though, we live in real life, and measuring the size of every single food that we eat isn’t necessarily a realistic circumstance in every situation. In order to meet your weight loss goals – or to maintain them if you are within your healthy body mass index (BMI) range – use the following as a guideline to help to keep your food portion sizes in the zone.
- Raw Vegetables or Chopped Fruit – the size of a fist – 1 cup
• Cooked Veggies – the size of a light bulb – ¼ cup
• Whole fruit – the size of a baseball – 4 ounces
• Fruit juice – the size of a teacup – 6 ounces
• Dried fruit – the size of an egg – ¼ cup
• Cheese – the size of a two dice – 1 ounce
• Tuna or chicken salad – the size of a tennis ball – ½ standard can
• Yogurt – the size of a baseball – 2/3 cup
• Milk – the size of a coffee mug – 2/3 cup
• Potato – the size of a computer mouse – 3 ounces
• Bread – the size of a cassette tape – 1 ounce
• Waffle or pancake – the size of a CD – one unit
• Couscous, rice, quinoa – the amount to fill a muffin paper – 1/3 cup
• Cooked pasta – the size of an ice cream scoop – 1/3 cup
• Cereal – the size of a coffee mug – 2/3 cup
• Chips or pretzels – the size of a coffee mug – 1 ounce
• Butter or oil – the size of a fingerprint – 1 tsp
• Nuts – the size of a thumb print – 1 tbsp
• Meat, fish, or poultry – the size of two eggs – 4 ounces
Give Yourself the Chance to Learn Gradually
As you can see, each type of food has its own portion size. There’s definitely a learning curve when getting to know food portion sizes. Nobody expects you to simply know them all right away, and you shouldn’t expect that of yourself, either. Instead, it’s a good idea to start becoming mindful of your servings.
Paying attention over time and placing the measured amounts on your plate can help you to better visualize how much should be there from now on. It will help you to make more nutritionally balanced decisions and will make it possible to ensure that when you’re taking seconds, you’re choosing the dishes that will help to satisfy your nutritional needs for the day while keeping your calorie consumption within a healthy range.
By taking these steps gradually at each meal, you’ll find that over time, you’ll start to learn what your food portion size should look like and won’t need to measure as much. In fact, sooner than you may think, you will find that you’ve build enough of an understanding around the dishes you serve the most that you won’t need to measure anything at all.
When you’re trying to reach your weight loss goals, the nutrition labels printed on the food you buy can go a long way in helping you to make informed choices. However, this is assuming that the labels you’re reading are easy enough to understand and provide you with the information you need to suit your eating strategy.
What Do Nutrition Facts Labels Do for Your Weight Loss Goals?
The way nutrition facts labels on products can help your success with your weight loss goals depends on the type of diet you’re following. Nutrition labels provide you with information regarding calories, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, sugars, fiber, certain specific nutrients and a list of the ingredients in the product you’re considering.
If you’re counting calories or following a diet that requires shifting your macronutrient ratio, for instance, you will likely find the information on the labels to be very handy in that effort, particularly when you pay close attention to the serving size to which it applies.
What About the New Version?
The new Nutrition Facts label has changed for the first time in a long time. The 2020 version is meant to better align with the updated understanding of what we need to know about food and what science and medicine have discovered over the last decades. The new version remains controversial but is designed to be more consumer friendly.
Though it may not be perfect, the new label is meant to simplify the information it shares. In this way, used with he right eating strategy, it may indeed help you to reach your weight loss goals. It still provides you with the basics you relied upon from the old label. That said, it now offers additional understanding regarding serving size, as well as factors such as added sugars, which many people find to be crucial in making the right choices for their health.
Added sugars is particularly unique as it separates the types of sugar in a product. After all, many ingredients such as wheat or milk contain natural sugars which would be registered on a nutrition label. However, the old version of the label didn’t differentiate between those and the sugars added to a product in the form of sucrose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, white sugar, honey, and dozens of others. As added sugars are considered to be an important and common nutrition concern, this label now helps consumers understand what is in their food.
Summertime is not only the time when most people want to diet to look better in their more revealing clothing like shorts and bathing suits, but it is also one of the best times of the year in which to take on a weight loss program. The reason is that there are a tremendous number of physical activities that you can take on to have fun in the sun, and the lowest calorie foods are very appealing in the hot weather.
Why Do We Gain Weight When It’s Hot Out?
It’s more than clear why many of us pack on the added pounds during the winter holiday season. After all, we’re constantly getting together for various types of party. There are appetizers, fatty foods and sweet treats everywhere we look – and they’re always being offered to us in an insisting way. Plus, we’re wearing bulky sweaters that cover the damage from all the added food we’re eating while we avoid exercising because it’s too cold outside.
That’s perfectly easy to understand. But what’s going on in the summertime? Shouldn’t bathing suit season, fresh fruits and vegetables and all that time outdoors mean that we don’t need summer weight loss tips? Shouldn’t the warm weather lifestyle naturally lend itself to healthy BMIs? Believe it or not, millions of us gain just as much, if not more, during this season as we do during the winter holiday season!
Hot Weather Fat Builders
When the weather warms up, the reason so many of us have to rely on great summer weight loss tips and researching top rated weight loss pills is that we eat tons of calories and find ourselves staying still to remain cool. When the hot weather hits, we do love our ultra low-calorie snacks like watermelon. Green salads become far more appealing when it’s warm out, too.
However, at the same time, we also eat far more barbequed meats drenched with sugar-laden sauces. We love our hotdogs and hamburgers topped with all kinds of sugar and calorie packed condiments and toppings. What’s a patio party without creamy coleslaw and pasta salad? Of course, no summertime is complete without gallons of ice cream, too. Not to mention the ice-cold beer and fun cocktails!
It may not seem like it, but we eat just as many calories during the summertime, while we stay in the air conditioning or lounge on patio furniture to stay cool, as we would dressed in ugly Christmas sweaters during the winter holiday season.
Use the following summer weight loss tips to make sure that you’re getting the very most out of your weight loss this summer.
Summer Weight Loss Tips to Use This Year
- Eat lots of raw veggies – Raw vegetables are extremely low in calories and they also taste great in the hot summer weather. Load up your plate during mealtime with salads and vegetables fresh from your garden or the farmer’s market. During snack time, have fresh vegetables cut up to eat on their own or with a low-fat dip.
- Reduce your sugars – Start slashing the sugars in your diet and you’ll find that it is suddenly far easier to slim down. You don’t need to give up everything you love, just make some smart choices. For example, instead of having a sugar laced popsicle, freeze your favorite juices on sticks and have those, instead. They still give you that sweet treat you long for, but at far fewer calories and sugars.
- Get into the cardiovascular exercises – You don’t need the gym for cardio during the summer months. In fact, you barely need any equipment at all. Go swimming, run on the beach, cycle around your neighborhood or find a great trail. Go for a walk or a jog. Or take part in one of the dozens of other activities that you can enjoy outside. Don’t forget that mowing the lawn and other yard work can also burn lots of calories as a part of an effective cardio workout.
- Snack healthy – While we tend to gravitate to greasy foods during the winter, it’s a lot easier to choose smarter foods during the summer. Watermelon, unsweetened and unsalted nuts (such as almonds), fresh berries (such as blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries), and low fat cheeses are a wonderful way to enjoy some treats throughout the day without having to suffer from the guilt that would come with eating chips, fries, and other high calorie options that can quickly devastate a dieting effort.
Look Beyond Summer Weight Loss Tips
Remember that these summer weight loss tips are helpful. That said, the key is to adopt an overall healthy lifestyle and enjoy yourself. After all, one huge patio party where you let loose and eat what you want won’t cause any harm if you’ve been reasonable nearly every other day. Find balance in your life. Treat yourself healthfully while avoid feeling deprived.
A self care lifestyle is something we tend to focus on when we’ve let things go for too long or when things get stressful. It’s a term we often use for steps to take when we need to recover or bolster ourselves. While it is particularly important at those times, it is something that deserves our time and attention regardless of how we’re feeling or what situation we’re facing.
Why Do We Let Our Self Care Lifestyle Slide?
Despite the fact that a regularly maintained self care lifestyle helps us to control our stress, and nourish our mind, body and soul, it’s often pushed aside until we need help getting through a tough or stressful situation.
The reason is that keeping up a self care lifestyle on a regular basis doesn’t always feel easy. After all, when we’re so busy that every hour of the day is filled up, or when we’re consumed with our jobs or our technology, it’s not simple to find time to dedicate to making ourselves feel good. After all, once work is done, there’s cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands, gardening and mowing the lawn, and that’s just what we must face without even including spending time with family and friends. If it’s hard to find a moment to sit down to a meal, it can feel much harder to carve away some pampering time.
How to Be Caring to Yourself Inside and Out
What we often forget is that a healthy self care lifestyle means that we’re keeping up the habits over the long term. This requires much less time than it does when you’re already struggling and need to do something to help you recover and recharge.
Yes, we can all benefit from the occasional vacation days and it’s fun to devote several hours – or even a full day or weekend – to spa services (at home or from your favorite day spa). However, keeping up self care as a lifestyle can just mean ten or fifteen minutes per day, or might even just require you to tweak some habits that won’t need any more time and energy than you’re already giving them.
Great Self Care Lifestyle Habits to Start Today
Consider these great tips to get your efforts off the ground:
- Give sleep a priority. Even if you can’t sleep longer, stick to set sleeping and waking hours (even on weekends) to train your body to get as much out of your rest time as you can.
- Understand the importance of your gut. Your microbiome has been scientifically linked to your mood and even your risk of anxiety or depression. Don’t give up your favorite junk food but save it for occasional treats. Discover delicious, simple healthy meals to enjoy the rest of the time.
- Exercise daily. Mix it up for cardio, strength training and flexibility/balance throughout the week. Even if you have only ten or fifteen minutes, get that brisk walk or master that warrior pose in yoga!
Care for your skin. This can include a spa day with face masks and mani-pedis, but for your everyday, but simply investing in luxurious face cleansers and moisturizers for your skin type, or even just putting on hand lotion before bed can be the perfect addition to your self care lifestyle. They’re little things, but when you pay attention to them, they remind yourself that taking care of yourself is important.
What is with that bloated belly? You’ve been good. At least, you’ve been eating relatively healthfully. Certainly nothing that would explain the amount of size you’ve suddenly gained. Your clothes are tighter. The number on the scale has increased. What’s going on? Has your body just decided that it’s going to work against your weight management goals no matter what? Perhaps not!
What’s with the Bloated Belly?
Sometimes when it feels like you may have gained a few pounds, it isn’t fat that has packed on around your middle, but it is instead fluid that has built up between the cells, causing you to expand, look puffier and have a bloated belly.
This can be caused by a number of different things, such as bad digestion, sodium levels that are too high, or hormones. However, the good news about this unfortunate problem is that there are a few simple foods that can help you to bust the bloated belly and make sure that you never look heavier than you are.
Great Foods to Beat the Bloated Belly
The foods that help fight a bloated belly include the following:
This veggie has been used as a digestive aid for many years and has been recommended for encouraging bowel movements while controlling intestinal gas because its properties are known to help to decrease fluid retention. It is both detoxifying and hydrating, which are both factors that can help the tissues of the body to shed the excess fluids that they contain.
Water with Lemon
Many people think that they should stop drinking water when they are boated because they feel that their bodies are already holding onto enough fluids. In truth, the opposite is the case. Your body may be clinging to water because you’re not drinking enough of it, so it is rationing the amount that it is using and is storing it in case it is needed. Drinking water is one of the best ways to encourage your body to flush out the excess that it has been holding. For best results, drink it at room temperature.
Though most melons are highly beneficial to overall health, watermelon is one of the best when it comes to hydration and the reduction of bloating. It is made up of about 92 percent water and also contains a natural diuretic, while being an excellent source of potassium. This helps to make sure that you are both hydrated and that you don’t retain much of the fluids in your tissues.
Turmeric and Rosemary
This spice and herb have been used for hundreds – if not thousands – of years for treating various conditions from headaches and toothaches to heartburn and high blood pressure. They are also great for improving digestion which can help to prevent bloating from gas and from fluid retention.
Lentils and Beans
One of the main contributors to bloating other than dehydration is eating too much sodium but inadequate fiber and potassium. These foods help to restore that balance so that your body will even out and stop the bloating that is being caused by this poor nutritional balance.
Avoid Foods that Cause a Bloated Belly
At the same time that you can add bloated belly fighting foods to your regular diet, it can also work in your favor to avoid certain foods that are notorious for leading to gas and water retention. The types of foods that can cause you to swell up even when you haven’t added any stored fat to your body can include the following:
Beans and Lentils
Before you start questioning all the information you’re reading here, check out why beans and lentils are also on this list. If your bloating is caused by constipation, or too little potassium and fiber in your diet, beans and lentils will help you to rapidly overcome those struggles and literally flush the culprits away. On the other hand, if you’re already getting lots of fiber and potassium, adding more fiber may only worsen the problem. Too much fiber can lead to gas, which can lead to swelling and a bloated belly. Remember to eat these foods in moderation and you’ll be on the right track.
Speaking of gasses, carbonated drinks are filled with them. The bubbles are indeed gasses and not all of them exit your body right away when you drink them. Any gasses from these drinks that become temporarily trapped in your digestive system can lead to a surprising amount of swelling. Switch to still beverages to prevent this from happening.
Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables are fantastic in terms of their nutrient and fiber content. However, they can also cause your body to produce quite a bit of gas, which can become trapped and lead to a bloated belly. Fortunately, in this case, it often passes within a day or so.
Some sodium is good for your health. In fact, it’s necessary for you to be alive. It’s an important electrolyte. However, the average diet gets way too much every day. Too much sodium is notorious for promoting water retention in the body’s tissues. Reducing sodium to a recommended level and drinking enough water each day can help your body to balance out again and wash out belly bloat caused by retained fluids.
Is weight loss yogurt really a thing or should you ignore these types of claims as marketing hype? As it turns out, there may be more to it than you initially think. It may sound like a bit of a stretch, but preliminary research is suggesting that there may be something to the claims dairy companies are making about their products.
At some point in time or another, we have all looked to fasting to help us lose the unwanted weight. It can be an equation that makes sense in theory—the less that we eat, the easier it is to lose weight. Makes sense, right?
Healthy snacks can be one of the best ways to keep your hunger satisfied while still supporting your efforts to lose weight. It may seem counterintuitive to think that eating can make it easier for your body to shed the excess pounds of fat, but it’s the truth. Just as making sure you eat a balanced diet will keep your other systems and organs running smoothly, the same can be said about your metabolism and hunger sensations.
When you have a very hectic, busy, full time schedule, it can seem impossible to find the time you need for fitting weight loss in. You know you need to be able to move around when you are aiming to lose weight effectively. You know you need to make smart food choices which often means preparing your own meals.
However, fitting weight loss in your busy schedule can seem easier said than done. Still, as long as you have the right tips, you can get past the challenges of time shortage. You can find the minutes you need to dedicate to your fitness each day. You can drop those extra pounds as you bring yourself to a healthier body.
Though it’s always recommended that we eat a balanced diet overall for nutrition, choosing some of the best weight loss vegetables can help to support us with our goals on the bathroom scale, too. After all, every food produces its own reaction in our bodies. Some of those foods aren’t just a matter of nutrient density. They also include that little bit of something extra. Their makeup helps us to drop unwanted pounds with just a bit more ease.