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.
Here are some portion size mistakes that you might be making:
Cereal is one way. 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.
Chicken breast is another way. 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. Learn to eat the right amount of protein.
Hamburger 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 (4 ounces) is slightly larger than the recommended serving size of 3 ounces. But many burgers, especially those served at restaurants are 1/3 to ½ pound. You might be eating twice as many calories as you think you are. We need to make better protein choices in order to control our portion sizes.
Coffee creamer your morning cup of java might be the most fattening thing you consume all day if you add flavored creamer. And you’re not off the hook if you use the fat-free variety. A single serving of liquid creamer is one tablespoon. Do you pull out the measuring spoons when you add cream to your coffee? Probable not. If you are drinking more than the recommended serving remember to count each cup of coffee. Then the small amount of fat in the fat-free creamer starts to add up quickly. Learn to make low-calorie coffee drinks at home.
Cooking spray is another way you might skip the oil and butter when cooking 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 ¼ 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.
Bread is also a way to consume extra calories if you pack yourself a healthy lunch with a lean meat sandwich, congratulations you are probably saving yourself from the belly-busting calorie fest 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.
Lethia Lee is the EFNEP program assistant for the Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program with the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Center.