Thursday, June 11, 2009

Serving Size Me

So about serving sizes (to follow up on my recent post)… Between figuring out what a “serving” of a particular food actually is, and then figuring out how many servings of each type of food you need a day (this depends on your daily calorie requirements, and there are lots of online sources that will help you figure this out – here’s one) a person just has too much to do before they can sit down to eat!

As a nutrition student in the process of formulating a philosophy of nutrition that I can comfortably convey to patients, I don’t consider serving size to be the most important thing in terms of healthy eating.*

Here are two things I think are far more important:

Eating mindfully will help you recognize when you’re full, develop a sense of how much food you need a day, and establish a stronger connection with your food. I recently wrote a short article that gives some tips for eating mindfully. Mindless Eating is a great book documenting some entertaining research (yes, I said entertaining and research in the same sentence) on what happens when people eat mindlessly.

Eating a variety of whole foods ensures maximum nutrients and minimal processing. Each fruit, vegetable and grain contains a unique combination of nutrients that fulfills a different aspect of our body's needs. We evolved as omnivores to take advantage of a wide variety of foods so satisfy your omnivorous nature by giving your body something new every week.

Eating whole foods also provides the opportunity to be more involved in food preparation, since preparing whole foods sometimes requires more work. Being more involved connects right back to the concept of eating mindfully. It’s a beautiful closed circle. The only problem with whole foods is that they often cost more than processed foods (more on this juicy topic later).

Of course, these things require commitment and work. I myself am committed to the concepts but have only completed about half the work. But we just keep plugging away, don’t we?

* Some people really do need to know about serving sizes and how to interpret them nutritionally, such as a person with diabetes who needs to know about the grams of carbs per serving. Looking at serving size when comparing two products is also useful.


  1. I'm with you, Carol. I'm committed to the concepts, but still working on behavior change. :)

  2. Just think, in a few weeks you can write articles for the PI without Kelly's name on them :)