If you are trying to eat healthy and lose weight, you might be eating too much of these foods. Do you think you are doing a good job of sticking to your healthy diet? You might be. But chances are good that you are eating too much of certain foods. Almost everyone makes portion size mistakes, especially when they are trying to lose weight. These are the foods that dieters often overeat.
Portion Size Mistakes That You Might Be Making
When is the last time you measured your cereal before pouring it into a bowl? Have you ever checked the Nutrition Facts label to determine the correct serving size? For some cereals, one cup is the recommended serving size. But the American Diabetes Association lists ¾ cup as a suggested serving. If you pour your cereal straight into the bowl, chances are good you are eating up to 2 servings. And if you refill the bowl (as most of us do!) you may be eating 3-4 servings.
2. Chicken Breast
Lean protein is healthy, right? Not if you eat too much of it. If you are eating a whole chicken breast for dinner, you might be eating too much. A serving of chicken is 3-4 ounces, about the size of a deck of playing cards. Some people use the palm of their hand as a guide. Depending on the vendor, some chicken breasts are twice or even three times the size of a recommended serving. The calories in chicken breast can add up and ruin your diet.
3. Cooking Spray
You might skip the oil or butter when cook healthy meals at home. This is good! But you might be neglecting to account for the calories in your cooking spray. If you use PAM to avoid adding calories to your food you might want to know that a single serving of the spray is 1/4 of one second. Do you keep a stopwatch in your kitchen? It’s not likely that you do. The Center for Science in the Public Interest evaluated the spray and reported that a more typical six-second spray would have 50 calories and 6 grams of fat.
If you pack yourself a healthy lunch with a lean meat sandwich, congratulations! You are probably saving yourself from the belly-busting caloriefest that you’d experience if you went to a restaurant. But did you accurately record the calories in your whole grain bread? If you think your sandwich equals one serving, think again. For many bread products, a single serving is only one slice of bread. Perhaps consider a bread swap.
A healthy serving of fresh fruit is a great alternative to a high fat dessert. But if you are counting your calories or watching your sugar intake you need to monitor how much you are eating. Take grapes for example. If you sit down with a bowl of grapes, you might add one serving of grapes to your food diary. Wrong! A single (cup) serving of grapes is only 16 grapes. Get out your calculator before you start chomping.
Sugary drinks are one of the easiest things to overconsume. We often put them next to us and mindlessly sip away. But the calories in soda add up, even if you only drink one a day! And for many reasons, diet soda is not a good alternative. A serving size of Coke is 12 ounces. But most of us drink plenty more than that when we fill up at the soda fountain. A 7-11 Double Gulp contains 50 ounces and 575 calories.
7. Salad Dressing
A healthy salad is a great alternative a high starch, high-fat meal. But the salad dressing can add calories that could make any prudent calorie counter blush. By some estimates, many restaurant salads contain over 500 calories, most often due to the fatty dressing. A serving size of salad dressing is 2 tablespoons. If you order your dressing on the side, your waiter will probably bring you much more than that.
If you are counting your hamburger patty as one serving of beef, you are probably underestimating the calories you’ve consumed. A quarter pound burger (four ounces) is slightly larger than the recommended serving size of three ounces. But many burgers, especially those served at restaurants, are 1/3 to 1/2 pound. You might be eating twice as many calories as you think you are.
The best way to manage portion control is to measure your foods with inexpensive kitchen tools like a measuring cup, measuring spoons or (my favorite) a digital scale. You can also measure foods without a scale, but calibrated tools are more accurate. Then keep a quick quide to the correct portion sizes for weight loss posted nearby as a reference.