Monday, January 18, 2010

Serving sizes reviewed

The first food group we looked at, if you remember was grains. The grains group includes all foods made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, rye, etc. such as bread, pasta, crackers, breakfast cereals and biscuits and cakes. At least half of the cereal products we eat should be wholegrain.
Potatoes are part of this group, too.
1 serving of grain = 1 slc of bread: OR half a cup of cooked pasta or rice: OR 1 small baby potato.
The recommended number of daily servings of grains = 6

Then we looked at vegetables, whether fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced.
1 serving of veg = 1 cup of cooked veg or juice: OR 2 cups of raw leafy greens such as lettuce.
Potatoes are not part of this group. (see grains above)
The recommended number of daily servings of veg = 3 to 5. Aim for at least 5 for optimum nutrition.

Next we considered fruits - fresh, frozen, canned, dried of juiced.
1 serving of fruit = 1 cup chopped fruit or juice: OR half a cup dried fruit.
The recommended number of daily servings of fruit = 2 to 3.

The milk and dairy group came next. Any product made from milk and that retains its calcium content fits in this group, so cottage cheese is included, but cream cheese is not. Choices from this group should be low-fat, or, better still, fat-free.
1 serving of dairy = 1 cup milk or yoghurt: OR 45gm hard cheese: OR 60gm processed cheese.
The recommended number of daily servings of dairy = 3.

Then I talked about proteins. I gave very minimal portion sizes for proteins, because I use the formula: Body weight in kg x 0.8 = gms of protien foods required in a day.
Most references give a portion size of between 80 and 100gm, regardless of the protein source. But I gave you:
1 serving of protein = 35gm red meat: OR 45gm poultry: OR 60gms fish
OR 2 Tblsp cooked beans: OR 1-2 Tblsp seeds: OR 1 Tblsp nuts: OR 1 medium egg
The recommended number of daily servings of protein = 2 - 3.
(It is very easy to eat protein in excess of the servings given here. In my recipes I generally allow 3 protein portions per person.)

Lastly - are you still with me? - I looked at fats and oils. These are not all enemies. Some of them are essential to health. Animal fats are solid at room temperature where vegetable fats are liquid. Animal fats are high in saturated fats, vegetable fats are high in unsaturated fats (the friendly ones).
Included in this group: butter, cream, cream cheese, mayonnaise, salad dressings, cooking and salad oils, margarines (hard and soft) and of course the fat on the side of your steak or chop.
The recommended number of daily servings of fats and oils = max. 6 tsp

If you want to lose weight, cut back on fats and oils - use only vegetable oils, trim excess fat from meat, remove chicken skin.
If you want to gain weight, add an extra portion each of fruit, veg, grains and proteins.

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