Food Friday: How Much is Enough?

It’s Friday, which means a lot of us are going to go out tonight.

I’m going to the “Color Me Man” play by Gbagyichild & TheNakedConvos happening at Terra Kulture this evening. As it so happens, I contributed to its creation so I’m really excited to see what it comes out to be.

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One thing about going out, is that you most likely have to get something to eat when you go out. I mean in ideal situations, our mothers taught us to eat before we leave our houses but if you’re like me, sometimes you’re just going to throw caution to the wind and go get some food wherever it is you’re going to.

As a person trying to be healthy, this brings a couple of challenges. One of these is what you should be eating, which I talked about the last time. But then, another problem I face is how much to eat.

I’ve always been a big eater (I used to be overweight, go figure). So sometimes, when I see a particular food, my natural tendency is to grab as much of it as I can.

Eat it... Eat it all!!!

Eat it… Eat it all!!!

But when you’re trying to change your nutrition habits to help you lose/gain weight (or simply to maintain your current weight), it’s important to ensure you’re getting the right amount of foods at any point in time.

Over the years, there have been many different ways of measuring the amount of food you eat, with different websites and apps that’re made to help you estimate how much your eating, and how many calories are in each food you eat. These apps work very well (I’ve personally tried LiveStrong’s Calorie Tracker app MyFitnessPal), but have a few shortcomings. For instance, lots of Nigerian foods like Eba & Ikokore are either not featured, or have doubtable figures for their calorie counts. Also, pulling out your phone everywhere you are when it’s time to eat can be quite annoying.

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Recently, Dr. John Berardi & the good folk at Precision Nutrition popularized an easy way to calculate the amount of food you’re meant to eat, using a simple tool: your very own palm.

So how does it work?

Your open palm measures a single portion of protein (eg chicken/fish/lean beef)

Your closed fist measures a portion of vegetables (eg spinach/cabbage/peas)

Your cupped palm measures a portion of dense carbohydrates (eg brown rice/Eba/yam)

Your thumb determines your fat portions (eg cashew nuts/oil in your meal)

Credit: Precision Nutrition

Credit: Precision Nutrition

How Should Men & Women Eat?

Men and women are built differently, and of course, have different needs for food.

Based on the portion guidelines, men should eat with each meal:

Two portions of protein
Two portions of vegetables
Two portions of dense carbohydrates
Two portions of fat

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Women on the other hand, should eat with each meal:

One portion of protein
One portion of vegetables
One portion of dense carbohydrates
One portion of fat.

Credit: Precision Nutrition

Credit: Precision Nutrition

Adjusting for Size

One interesting objection is the fact that people come in different shapes and sizes and so this standard may be difficult to maintain. But the cool thing about this is; your palm size is unique to YOU. This means that based on your palm, you’ll always be getting the right amount of food in each portion, whether your a 4’9″ woman or a 6’7″ man.

Meal Planning for Weight Goals

Like I mentioned above, your palm is the perfect size for you, and serves as a great starting point. So dependent on your goals, you can simply adjust as you go along. For instance, a woman trying to lose weight, can simply cut her carbohydrate portions in half, while increasing her protein intake by half a portion. A man trying to put on some weight, can add a portion of carbohydrates and protein each to each meal.

This means of measuring makes it pretty much stress free as you basically carry your measurement tool with you everywhere you go, and can measure your meals quickly and efficiently.

So enjoy your Friday, eat well, and be kind to yourself.

– Panda

References:

http://www.livestrong.com/blog/a-quick-and-easy-way-to-estimate-portion-size/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/calorie-control-guide

http://www.healthyeating.org/Healthy-Eating/Healthy-Living/Weight-Management/Article-Viewer/Article/348/correct-portion-sizes-how-to-keep-portion-distortion-in-check.aspx

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