Weekly Wellness

Weekly Wellness

by Laura Dillavou

Portions getting bigger? So is your waistline.

With every restaurant and fast food venue in town advertising bigger portions, super-sized meals and hearty extras, it’s hard not to be enticed.

After all we are economic college students who want the most bang for the buck.

You may have noticed (or at least on your roommate) that all that wise spending may just be waiting to bite you back in the butt… or on the waistline… or maybe students are just getting chunky in a few different places.

In the past few years, many restaurants have increased the size of their plates, as well as the size of their portions, to encourage consumers to eat more and spend more for these large portions.

According to a study conducted at the University of Illinois, when presented with a larger food container or plate people tended to eat more. As an example, people were given tubs of popcorn in two different sizes. The ones that were given larger tubs ate 44 percent more than those who had a smaller container.

People today generally just have bigger appetites than they did twenty years ago. However, this increase is not due to more manual labor or being “just plain hungry.”

People are lazier than ever. Obesity is one of the fastest growing health concerns in the nation, and there are a plethora of options out there to satisfy our sweet tooth and growling stomachs.

In order to keep your portions in control, try sizing up the food with something familiar. For example, your palm (minus fingers) is about the size of 3 ounces of meat, a single serving for someone. This may fill up a person that weighs 100 pounds, but if fed to a larger person it won’t hold them for long.

This is why nutritionists encourage eating vegetables and small portions of bread. These are not only healthy and helpful to the body, but they fill up large amounts in the stomach.

Having liquid in your stomach before eating will help you feel fuller. Drinking one glass of water before a meal is proven to help curb appetites and cut down on calories.

Another example of wise sizing is using your fist as a good serving guide. The size of your fist is equivalent to one serving of fruits or vegetables. By cupping one hand, you can also see how much one serving of pretzels or nuts will be. Although nuts are good for you, it is recommended that they be eaten in small quantities and only two or three times a week.

If you have a hard time leaving food on the plate, try this: simply put your napkin over your dish when you feel comfortably full. There is no need to squeeze every last fry or piece of pizza down in one meal. If it is that important, or that good, get a doggy bag and enjoy your food the next day, too.

Here’s another little trick to eating less: try eating slower. If you concentrate on chewing your bite 15 times instead of the usual bite and swallow method, you will feel more full, faster. Bit by bit those tiny morsels of food build up in the stomach and have a tendency to stick with you longer, too.

In the age of convenience and hectic schedules, fast food seems like the way to go. However, just remember that in the midst of all this convenience, the problems of laziness and added calories start to add up. Think of eating only what is comfortable, and remember portion control.