Food For Thought!
By Ryan Unverzagt
Welcome back faithful readers! I’ve decided to skip the regular “Exercise of the Month” in this issue of the OTC to focus a little more on food and nutrition. November can be a difficult month to control our eating habits with the Thanksgiving holiday upon us. We seem to let our eyes and stomach get the best of us and give into temptation. So what advice can I give you to stay on the fitness track this month? Put down the fork and back away from the table! Just kidding, but we could all use a little bit of will-power when it comes to eating.
I think the biggest issue to address first is portion control. Eating the correct amount of food can save you a ton of calories. Sounds easy enough, right? Let’s review how much a serving size actually is:
1 fruit serving = 1 small to medium fresh fruit, ½ cup canned or fresh fruit or fruit juice, ¼ cup dried fruit
1 vegetable serving = ½ cup cooked veggies or vegetable juice, 1 cup raw veggies
1 starch serving (carbohydrate) = ½ cup cereal, grain, pasta, or starchy vegetable such as corn, potatoes, beans; 1 slice bread, ¾ to 1 ounce snack food
1 dairy serving = 1 cup milk, ¾ cup yogurt, 1 ounce cheese (about the size of 4 dice), ½ cup ice cream or pudding, 1 medium egg
1 meat serving = 3 ounces chicken, turkey, shellfish, beef
1 serving pumpkin pie = 1/8 pie and 1 serving fruit pie = 1/6 pie
As you can see, it doesn’t take much to constitute a serving. If you truly took the serving sizes listed above, a normal Thanksgiving Day plate and glass would hardly be full. Therefore, choose to grab a smaller plate and glass to “trick” your mind into thinking you have larger portions. Obviously, smaller plates will limit the amount of food you can fit onto it. This sounds crazy, but it can work.
The second thing to remember is to eat and drink S-L-O-W-L-Y! Relax and enjoy your favorite foods. Set down your utensils between each bite. By eating slower, you end up eating less because the feeling of being full arrives sooner. Eating too fast blunts the sensation of being full until it’s too late, when you’ve already overeaten. Try to eat more protein-rich and higher fiber foods like turkey and vegetables. These foods will fill you up faster and keep you full longer than higher carbohydrate foods, especially desserts. You can still have your pie, but keep in mind the serving size.
One last thing to mention is EXERCISE! A little bit of activity and portion control will keep you from gaining any unwanted pounds. I recommend walking because it’s the easiest and most convenient way to stay active over the holidays. I really hope you take this advice and RUN with it – if you know what I mean!
About the Author: Unverzagt holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Wellness Management from Black Hills State University. He is a certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength & Conditioning Association and a Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.