There are some things that exist where bigger is better – hair, closets, diamonds, goals. Bigger food portions however, does not make the list. Big portions leads to overeating, which leads to excess calories. Excess calories leads to weight gain, and ultimately results in increased risk for comorbidities (e.g. diabetes and cardiovascular disease). That’s the scientific rule. We all know though that every rule has an exception, and in this case, the exception is non-starchy vegetables. There is always room to consume more non-starchy vegetables as long as the method of preparation does not call for heavy sauces and/or oils. In fact, I encourage clients to consume more vegetables if they are still hungry after eating a well balanced meal. Vegetables are nutrient dense and contain more fibre (we all know how much I love fibre) resulting in feeling full longer. This alone, helped me meet my pledge, and put into practice the goal of week three of nutrition month: prioritizing portion size.
What’s a portion size? Portion size is the amount of food you chose to consume – this differs from the food guide serving (the reference amount of food to consume). Canada’s Food Guide developed daily food guide servings, and other recommendations, based on gender and age group. For example, a 31-year-old female would require 7-8 servings of fruits and vegetables, 6-7 servings of grain products, 2 servings of milk and alternatives, 2 servings of meat and alternative, and 2-3 tablespoons of unsaturated fat daily. Great! Now we know how much of each food group and healthy fat she should eat, but what does this look like in terms of portion sizes? Bring out your hand – it’s going to be your superpower to eating healthy.
One closed fist equals: 1 serving of leafy green vegetables, fruit, milk or yogurt or pulses (e.g. lentils, beans) or 2 servings of fresh/frozen/canned vegetables;
One hand equals: 1 serving of bread (i.e. grain products);
Two thumbs equals: 1 serving of cheese (i.e. milk and alternative);
One palm of the hand equals slightly over 1 serving of cooked fish, poultry, and meat;
Tip of the thumb equals 1 serving of healthy fat (e.g. olive oil).
There are other factors that can influence how much food you require in a day (e.g. activity level). This would change the recommended number of food guide servings. Need some assistance with using your superpower? Connect with me – even Batman had Robin.
Visit NutritionMonth2016.ca to learn more about this campaign, recipe ideas, and dietary strategies to make sustainable changes. Check out Canada’s Food Guide to see how many servings of each food group you require.
PS: Connect with me on twitter @one_more_bite_
Makes 4 servings
4 3-oz chicken breast, lean-extra lean, cut into small pieces
1/3c white onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, small, cut into strips
1 yellow bell pepper, small, cut into strips
1 glove garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1c shredded cheese, reduced fat
1/2c tomato, diced
4 large whole wheat tortillas (3g of fiber or more per tortilla)
Season cut chicken pieces with oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and black pepper.
Lightly spray wok or skillet on medium heat with cooking spray. Add the seasoned cut chicken pieces and cook until meat is white through (approximately 8-9minutes). Set cooked chicken aside.
To the wok or skillet add 1 tbsp oil and cook onions and bell peppers – add small amount of black pepper. Cook for approximately 2minutes and then add the garlic – cook vegetables until soft. Set cooked vegetables aside.
Heat skillet on medium heat and lightly spray with cooking oil. Place tortilla on heated skillet. Top half of the tortilla with cheese, chicken, onion-bell pepper mixture, tomatoes and cilantro (optional).
Using a flipper, fold the tortilla in half and hold down for a few seconds. The cheese should be melted and the bottom of tortilla should be golden brown. Carefully flip the quesadilla over to brown the other side the tortilla. Be careful not to burn the tortilla. Once crisp/golden, remove from heat and repeat for the other three tortillas. Once ready to serve, cut into wedges and serve with reduced fat sour cream and fresh salsa. Enjoy.
Nutrition Facts (per one quesadilla):
Energy: 400kcals Protein: 37g Fat: 15g Carbohydrate:25g Fibre:5g