Dieting and Portion Size
One of the biggest myths about dieting to lose weight is that portion sizes must be no larger than a deck of playing cards. Several diet plans and manufacturers of lean frozen entrees limit portion sizes to 350 calories or less. But there is no rule stating thou shalt eat tiny entrees with 350 calories or less. The important thing to remember is eating a balance diet providing the calories, vitamins, minerals and nutrients your body needs. If you currently eat 3,500 calories per day and want to lose weight. Begin by cutting calories by 10%, 350 calories to around 3,150 calories per day. That’s almost 10 frozen diet meals per day. Those convenient frozen entrees do not provide balanced nutrition.
Frozen, prepared meals do not included fresh fruits, salads, bread or dairy. You must supply these items for a balanced diet. What prepared foods usually include is too much salt for the portion size. It doesn’t matter if it is organic sea salt or plain table salt. This national brand of frozen pizza has 280 calories and 560 mg per serving if you only eat half which is a little over 4 ounces (120 g). That is not a lot of pizza.
The whole pizza is about 8 ounces (240 g) and comes in a convenient microwave oven box to produce a crisp crust.
Cooking as directed on the box did not result in a pizza that looked anything like the picture on the box, restaurant or home delivered Pizza or homemade. The cheese did not completely melt giving the pizza a chewy, gritty texture. Assuming you stop at only half a pizza and add a salad with oil and vinegar dressing you can have about a 400 calories meal.
There are cookbooks based on the magical 350 to 400 calorie per serving goal. The issue is limiting the amount you eat to one or two servings. Eat two or three servings or a 350 calorie appetizer, followed by a 350 calorie entree, 350 calorie vegetable, add a 350 calorie salad and finish with a 350 calorie dessert and you have a 1,400 calorie meal excluding drinks which can add another 350 calories or more. The abundance of inexpensive foods makes it too easy to overeat. Add the fact most people are living more sedentary lifestyles and you have the formula for overweight and obesity. Eating excess calories of any food including healthy fruits, vegetables and legumes goes straight to your fat cells.
Your diet and portion control determine whether you will maintain or gain weight over time. But portion control doesn’t mean eating child size entrees. If you are trying to lose weight, it is important understanding how many calories are in the foods you eat and how these calories add up so you can enjoy foods without eating more than your body needs.
Recent studies revealed people trying to lose weight believed they are eating a healthy diet when in fact they underestimated the total number of calories they ate by up to 50 percent. That is a lot of calories. If your body’s ideal weight requires 2,000 calories per day and you believe you are eating 2,000 calories or less but are in fact eating 3,000 calories per day you’ll have a 3,000 calorie body.
Want to Gain Weight? Eat Out.
Fast foods, processed foods and restaurant meals are notoriously high in calories. Large portions attract and keep customers and don’t cost much more than offering smaller portions. Research has shown over and over people eat more when offered more. Our brain is programmed for you to eat in order to survive. When you are surrounded by so many inexpensive foods high in fat, sugar and refined wheat flour it is easy eating too many calories.
Conversely, you do not have to go on a severely restricted diet to lose weight. Can you guess how many calories there are in the homemade pizza dinner pictured in this post? It has one-half of a 10-inch pizza with proscuitto, 2 ounces of pasta with 1/2 cup of meat sauce and about a cup and a half of iceberg lettuce with a tablespoon of honey mustard vinaigrette. The answer is at the end of this post.
This pizza dinner can be eaten for lunch or dinner and is healthier then most fast food meals. Here are a few fast food favorites:
- Large Cheeseburger with bacon: 1,000 calories or more, 20g saturated fat and 1,800mg sodium.
- 3 piece fried chicken ( 2 legs, 1 thigh) with biscuit and mashed potatoes with gravy: 900 calories, 13g saturated fat and 2,560mg sodium.
- Regular crust garden pizza one-half 10-inch pizza: 750 calories, 13g saturated fat, 2,100mg sodium.
As you can see eating fast food on a regular basis can be hazardous to your waistline and your health. These inexpensive meals are loaded with calories, saturated fat which is know to increase blood cholesterol and sodium.
So how many calories are in the featured meal?
860 calories, 9g saturated fat and 1,400mg of sodium. Most of the sodium comes from using store bought pizza dough but it is still less than all 3 sample fast food meals.