Moderation: The quality of being moderate; restraint; avoidance of extremes or excesses. These are definitions of moderation. We have a strong feeling that a lot of you have a basic understanding of what it means to eat healthy, but moderation can sometimes interfere with healthy eating. This is in part why portion size and moderation are listed separate in the nutrition guidelines. When you are dressing up something healthy with other foods to add flavor, it is important to show moderation. Here are some examples of where adding foods to something healthy can become a caloric bomb and lead to an unhealhty meal:
- A bowl of oatmeal: add butter, honey, and dried cranberries, etc. This is where you need to moderate the add ons.
- A lean steak or fish: add in large amounts of butter, cream sauce, fried onions on top, etc. This is how to make a healthy lean protein unhealthy
- A bowl of greek yogurt: add in honey, dried fruit, peanut butter, etc. This bowl of greek yogurt can end up being a sugar bomb high in calories and unwanted sugar.
- Tofu: add in sauce, cream, butter, oil, etc. Don’t turn your tofu into too-fat!!
Practice moderation when you are flavoring up your proteins. Don’t turn you lean and healthy protein into a fat bomb.
Snacking is another area where moderation sometimes is forgotten. It’s easy to feel like you only had a handful of a bagged snack. But, you forgot, that you reached into the bag like 5 times!! So that’s actually 5 handfuls. But this behavior gets overlooked, and those calories add up. So, practice moderation if you choose to indulge in those types of snacks. I’m looking away!! Here are some basic tips for moderation with your snacking behavior:
- Any of those bags of crunchy salty things: Don’t eat directly from the bag, get a small bowl and put a little bit in it, and that is where you stop.
- Any of those baked white flour products that taste so delightful: just be smart, follow the package portion size, don’t over eat, and definitely, do not let these be a regular occurrence!! I’m closing my eyes!!
- Ice Cream. There, I said it!!! Ice Cream: Do Not, I repeat, Do Not eat out of the container. Scoop out half of a portion and put it in a bowl. Do not use a giant size bowl. A smaller bowl will be sufficient (you can get some of those cute little dessert bowls!!) that way you feel like you have a sufficient serving. A little trick I employ is putting a tablespoon of flaxseeds in with my serving of ice cream. It seems to satisfy my belly and that smaller serving feels like more than enough!!
I have to address dining out and ordering in while discussing moderation. When we eat out and order in, we tend to eat from the containers. Or maybe it’s just my heathenous ways!!! Well, don’t be like me, portion out your food in these situations. If you are at a restaurant, you can ask for a to-go container when you’re ordering your meal, this way, if your plate of food is too large, then you can portion out what you will eat at the restaurant, and put the rest in your to-go container, and enjoy your now-properly portioned meal. Perform the same process to your delivered meals. Have your plate ready and waiting before the delivery person arrives. This way, you’re ready to serve yourself out a proper portion size onto your pretty dinner plate. These are all ways to practice moderation and set yourself up for a successful meal time, while staying within the parameters you have laid out for your healthy eating style. This may be new to you, but you will get used to this lifestyle, and develop into the new you. So, learn to be your own moderator and moderate your food intake as you learn new ways of moderation. Did I say moderate!!!