Eating proper portions and being mindful about the amount of calories consumed each day can help aid in weight maintenance and weight loss. A study published in the American journal of Preventative medicine has shown those who keep a food journal lose about two times more eight than those who do not. Benefits of keeping a food journal include: acknowledging how much you truly eat; encouraging mindful eating; helping to ensure you are consuming a balanced diet; keeping track of extra calories; and increasing self-control.
Tips to shave calories while staying on track with your food journal:
- Downsize your dishes. Use smaller plates and bowls to help you eat less. Our brains think we are getting more when the same amount of food is placed in a small dish.
- Savor your meals. Eating slowly helps you consume only what your body needs to feel satisfied.
- Don’t eat out of a bag or box. Pour one serving into a small bowl to better track how much you are eating.
- Choose your glass wisely. When glasses are short and wide, we tend to fill them with more fluid and to drink more. Use a slender glass for any beverage except water.
- Rethink your drinks. High-calorie beverages like soda, juice, energy drinks, specialty coffees and alcohol add calories.
- Keep track as you go. It’s a lot harder to remember the whole day versus one meal at a time.
- Practice proper portion size. Measure out your food when eating at home.
- Keep in mind what one serving looks like. Some examples are: cooked pasta or beans = computer mouse; bread = compact disc; fresh fruit or raw vegetables, yogurt, or dry cereal = baseball; meat or French fries = deck of cards; cheese = four dice; peanut butter = ½ ping pong ball; grilled or baked fish = checkbook.
Follow the MyPlate method when planning healthful meals. MyPlate is based on the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010,” which was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
At each meal you should try to fill half your plate with a colorful array of fruits and vegetables. Choose lean proteins such as: chicken, lean beef, pork, beans, lentils or peas and limit those to one fourth of your plate. Fill the remaining quarter of your plate with a grain source. Aim to make half of your grains whole with whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, oatmeal or brown rice. Additionally, choose one serving of low fat dairy to have with your meal. Exampl.es of low fat dairy include: low fat or fat free milk, reduced fat cheese and yogurt.
Fats, sweets and desserts should be eaten sparingly.