While you should always focus on quality food choices for both mental wellness and physical health, you should also consider the other part of the nutrition equation: quantity (otherwise known as portion control). Luckily, we have a handy pair of built-in, portion-control tools — our hands. We can use them to guide us in the quantity aspect of the Helping Hand approach to eating. Read more about this method below.

Carbohydrates 

Fruits and vegetables (except potatoes, which count as concentrated carbs): Choose a quantity that roughly matches the size of your open hand. Select brightly colored fruits and vegetables for the highest levels of disease-fighting carotenoids (orange, red and yellow) and flavonoids (green, blue and purple).

Concentrated carbs (e.g., starches, such as bread, cereal and pasta, including potatoes and french fries): Choose a quantity that is no larger than your tightly closed fist (e.g., a small side dish of pasta, potato salad, a dinner roll, etc.).

Protein

Lean proteins (e.g., eggs, yogurt, milk, lean ground beef, steak with visible fat trimmed, fish, chicken, pork chops, etc.): Choose an amount about the size of the palm of your hand. Keep in mind, this is likely to be about half of what’s served in many American restaurants, so be prepared to eat half and bring the other half home for leftovers.

Fat

Any source of fat will do. That means butter, olive oil, flaxseed oil, cheese, and nuts are fine. Make an okay sign with your thumb and index finger, and choose an amount about the size of the circle made by your index finger/thumb.

Gluten free, vegan or vegetarian? No problem! Make substitutions that work for you!

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