Portion Distortion

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Dinner Diva
Portion Distortion

By Leanne Ely, CNC

One of the things that I have struggled with in regard to my own personal body clutter is learning to eat less food than what I want to eat. What I want to eat and what I need to eat are often incongruous and I have a small battle inside my head trying to decide if I am going to “behave” or “sin”. You know exactly what I’m talking about! It’s an issue I know a lot of us all share in common. Getting a grip on how much you really need food-wise is tough. We are used to overfeeding ourselves, truth be told.

Portion Distortion

Take restaurants for example. Not only do they bring your food on PLATTERS and not plates, they give you enough to feed your entire family. And what do we do? The food comes, we oooh and ahhh over how big the portion is and then we dig in. We will either eat till we’re stuffed and bag it up to take home or we’ll eat it all and complain about how full we are.

Let me share with you how many calories are in a typical chain restaurant meal. For fun, I’m going to share with you something I just ate at a major chain restaurant a while back (thinking a salad would be a good choice) and how blown away I was that it was this many calories and this much fat—talk about portion distortion!

The Chicken Caesar Salad I ate had 1,010 calories and 76 grams (yes, SEVENTY-SIX) of FAT!!!!!!! Hello?? I was absolutely STUNNED!! That’s just not doing my body any favors! 13 grams of that 76 fat grams were saturated fat, too.

What does that tell you?

Two things:

1) BEWARE of “healthy” main course salad options at restaurants and,

2) Restaurant salad dressings are usually really, really over the top fat-wise, carb-wise and in calories.

And that brings me back to my original point: less food—we don’t need to eat all of that! The all-you-eat-mentality is particularly pronounced at restaurants. They BRAG about their hefty portion size!

So how do you handle restaurants? Know what you’re walking into, for starters. If it is a chain restaurant, look on line to see if you can find the menu and the nutritional info for the menu. Not all restaurants do that, but there are other sites out there with that info—just google it.

Second, have a back up plan. Order sauces, dressings and anything else that you will lend a huge caloric and often, fatty punch to the meal, on the side. All restaurants will happily accommodate…just ask.

Third, if you haven’t split your meal with a dining companion, ask for a doggie bag right when your meal comes. Cut your meal in HALF or more, and bag it up. If it is off your plate, you are less apt to chow down on it and leave with a Thanksgiving-stuffed feeling.

And last but not least—keep restaurant eating as a treat and not a part of your weekly plan. Eating at home is always cheaper, most likely to be more nutritious, you control the fat and the salt and the service is predictable, right?

If you need help planning your menus, go to www.savingdinner.com and try our Menu-Mailer, your family will thank you. Enjoy!

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