Everyone knows that eating junk food in moderation is wise. But what about eating healthy food? Is there such a thing as too much of a good thing? We explore some of the healthiest food you want to be including as part of a balanced diet and ask ‘how much is too much’. If you’re striving to eat well and get the nutrients your body needs then this look at healthy food options is a must read! The truth is that even healthy food can make you fat if you don’t watch your portion sizes carefully. Steak, avocado, nuts, salmon and cheese are all good for you if you don’t overdo it. Here are some guidelines you can follow to make sure you’re not stifling your weight loss goals even when you’re eating healthy food.
HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES ARE VITAL
Wholegrain, vegetables, fruit, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products are all considered healthy food choices. That is, provided you don’t eat too much. Of course, eating a lot of green, leafy vegetables isn’t going to cause you to put on any weight and the added benefit of high nutrient content and hydration are always good. But other types of good foods, particularly foods with healthy fats can be a problem if you’re trying to lose weight.
Getting regular exercise will help combat overeating when it comes to any type of food, but seeing you’re trying to control your unhealthy eating, it can be tempting to overdo it when it comes to the healthy food you are allowed to eat. You should be aware of your portion sizes even if the food on your plate is good for you.
HEALTHY FOOD FAVORITES
Lean steak is a great source of protein, iron and zinc and it can help you control hunger cravings. It is also delicious. But a healthy portion of steak is only about 120g. A serving this size provides about 643kj of energy and would amount to about 643kj. Many people would consider a ‘normal’ portion of steak to be about 300g. If you’re eating this much, particularly if you’re not trimming the fat, you’re overdoing it. As for what this translates to in terms of size, you should be aiming to eat a portion of steak that is about the size of your palm.
Avocado is another healthy food that is often over-consumed Avocado contains monounsaturated fat (good fat) and is packed with vitamins E & C, folate and fiber It has been touted as a great way to lower cholesterol. But beware that despite the goodness in a slice of avocado, it also has a high calorie count associated with it. A healthy portion size? About 30g; which is about 1/8 of an avocado and provides about 257kj. If you’re eating 1/2 an avocado, as many people would do on a regular basis, you’re overdoing it, particularly if you add it to a sandwich with lean protein.
Unsalted nuts are also touted as a great source of good fat, fiber and protein and including healthy portions of nuts in your diet can also be good for lowering cholesterol. But you need to limit your intake to one ‘lady-size’ handful (about 30g). This would give you about 765kj! As you can see, a couple of ‘man-size’ handfuls of nuts in a day is the equivalent of a meal in terms of calories, so be careful not to eat too much or nuts cease to be a healthy food choice.
I love salmon. I love the taste and I love the health benefits, including omega-3 fatty acids, protein and potassium. The only problem I have with loving salmon is that I can easily overeat it, which means my calorie count for the meal or for the day can skyrocket. A healthy portion of salmon is about 150g and provides about 891kj. Unfortunately, I’ve found it rare to get a pre-cut salmon portion from the deli that is much smaller than 250g. With this in mind I’ve found it better to ask for a large portion when I’m shopping then I can safely cut it in half and still have two healthy meals. Getting a small serving from your fishmonger might mean you’ll get too much to eat, but too little to save for another day.
Finally, cheese. While not brimming with good fats (cheese is made up of saturated fat so in this regard it’s not always considered a healthy food choice), it is a great source of calcium and protein. I also tastes great! But a healthy portion of cheese is only about as big as a matchbox (30g) and equates to about 507kj of energy. This means cheese boards are definitely out as ‘healthier’ dessert options when you’re dining out.
SMALLER PORTIONS = BETTER QUALITY
One of the benefits of reducing your portion size when it comes to steak, nuts, avocado, salmon and cheese (besides the benefit to your waist line) is that you can probably enjoy better quality produce. These delicious, healthy foods are also quite expensive. As a consequence most people choose cheaper and lower quality produce to balance their budgets. If you reduce your portion sizes, however, you can enjoy better quality for the same price as you’re currently budgeting. Better quality means better taste.
There are no shortage of great recipe ideas out there that will allow you to enjoy smaller, healthier portion sizes of these delicious super-foods. Fill the rest of your plate with fresh, organic vegetables and make sure you drink plenty of fresh, filtered water. Eating everything in moderation is a great mantra. Watching your portion sizes takes practice and concentration, but it is worth it if you’re trying to lose weight. Steak, avocado, nuts, salmon and cheese are all great additions to a healthy diet as long as you’re not eating too much. And make sure you get plenty of regular exercise.