Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday Wellness Watch

Welcome back for week 2 of the Thursday Wellness Watch 
If you need to catch up check out the original post on instinctive eating and Week 1 of the Wellness Watch on healthy diets and energy balance.

This weeks topic is label reading, food logs/journals, portion control, and the perfect plate.

Reading Nutrition Labels

The Serving Size
    This is the first place to start when looking at a nutrition label. Pay attention to the number of servings per package and the serving size; then ask yourself “How many servings am I consuming?” For example, if there are two servings per container and you know you will eat the whole container, you will consume double the calories and all other nutrients listed on the label.

    Calories provide the energy your body gets from food. Many Americans get more calories than their bodies need, resulting in excess weight gain. Reading the  nutrition label for calories can be a helpful way to manage your weight. In general, a food with 40 calories or less per serving is considered low in calories, 100 calories is moderate, and 400 calories per serving or more is high.

The Nutrients and Percent Daily Value (DV)
   The nutrients listed on a food label are total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, sugars, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, and iron. The percent daily value is based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your personal daily need may be higher or lower based on your gender, age, weight, and activity level.

       5% or less is considered low in a nutrient

       10% - 19% is considered a moderate source

       20% or more is considered high

What nutrients do you want to be low?
  Total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Which nutrients do you want to be high?
  Fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Portion Control
    Portion sizes have gotten bigger over the past 20 years and those extra calories add up to one thing—weight gain!

    A serving size is the suggested amount of a particular food that counts as a serving. The portion is what you put on your plate and eat in one sitting.  Understanding this difference, along with controlling portion sizes and keeping track of servings, can help you manage your weight.

Here are some ways to “eyeball” serving sizes:


What does a healthy and well-balanced meal look like? Many people refer to this as the Mickey Mouse plate, which is a fun way to get kids to eat a balanced meal.

Portion your meals with moderation, balance, and variety in mind.

1. Half of your plate should hold colorful vegetables

2. One quarter of it should hold a palm-sized portion of lean protein, such as salmon or chicken breast

3. Another quarter should hold a palm-sized portion of a whole-grain, such as brown rice, or starchy vegetables, such as potatoes

4. Drink one serving of low-fat or fat-free milk

5. Have one serving of fruit for dessert or snack.

How have our portions changed over the past 20 years? Check out this website to find out.

Food Logs 

Food Logs for Weight Management
    A daily food log can be very helpful when trying to lose weight. With a food log, you can track what you are eating on a daily and meal to meal basis. When logging or journaling your food intake for weight loss it can be helpful to include what you are time of day it is and what you are feeling; are you feeling stressed, bored, lonely, did you see an advertisement for food, are you tired, etc. Reviewing your food log can help you become aware of what, when, and where you are eating the majority of your calories. It can also increase your awareness of your eating habits.

Food Logs for a Balanced Diet
    You can also use a food log to track your intake from each food group to ensure that you are eating a well-balanced diet. Simply log all the foods that you eat throughout the day; at the end of the day, add up how many servings from each food group you consumed.Log on to My Pyramid for assistance.

Tips when using a food log
    Be not change the way you eat on the days that you log. In order to get an accurate record of your typical diet, it is important to eat as you normally would if you were not logging. Use your food log as a spring board for making small, sustainable changes to your everyday meals.

 Next week we will talk about fiber and hydration.

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