Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Lifestyle Changes Day 9 – Reading Lesson

on January 19, 2012

So here we are my friends. we’ve tackled plate geometry, calorie counting, exercise, and many other topics. One thing I realized I haven’t shared with you all is a reading lesson. I’m hoping you know how already, since you’ve been reading my page!

When choosing foods, you have to read the nutrition facts. I know I know, more of that boring stuff. But I’m here to tell you, it will help, really it will. If you want to make your goals, you have to read the portion size, calorie content and the ingredient list. Sometimes it’s gonna actually require measuring your portion, like with cereal. I heard that. I just heard what you said and I can hear what you’re thinking too. ‘aw man, really? why can’t I just pour the cereal in the bowl already?’ Ok, just like I tell my daughter, you are not the only one doing it, I’m doing it too. Seriously, I just had my measuring cup out to pour my cereal. The reason, what you think the portion size is, I’m guessing, isn’t quite what it really is. The portion size of your favorite cereal (mine is Cheerios, yellow box), just for example, is probably one cup, not one BOWL. What? Yes, I said it, you don’t fill the whole bowl, although my brother used to think that was his portion size, repeatedly.

Portion size is key in the goal to lose weight. If you eat twice as much as the listed portion size, you’re obviously going to be getting more calories than you want. The other part of the nutrition label you have to pay attention to is the size. Yes I said it again. Why? because you can’t simply read the calorie part. Sometimes you look at just the calorie count and don’t really see the size. It could be 150 calories, but the portion size might only be 1/2 C and without knowing that, you may inadvertently double your intake because, let’s face it, 1/2C of pasta isn’t much. And even though you think it’s something healthy, until you read the facts, you don’t really know. Case in point. A friend of mine was eating some really delicious ‘all natural’ granola clusters. She let me try one, and yes, they were really delish, but the serving size was 1/4C I think, and it had over 300 calories. She hadn’t read the fine print, only the part that said it was all natural and healthy. And while it may have been all natural, it was loaded with sugar and extra calories. I’m just saying, don’t be fooled by the outside of the package.

So, really, just take a moment before making your choice and really read the label so you know what you’re eating.

Now to the ingredient list. They’re not always really what they present on the package. You know the words ‘reduced fat’, ‘light’, ‘good source of fiber’ or whatever they want to put on it, can be a bit misleading. Now I’m going to give you another reading lesson. When you are looking at the listing of ingredients, they are in descending order of prominence in the product. For example, if sugar, of any kind, is listed second on the list, orfirst, that food is not necessarily going to be the best choice. Caveat: things like Wheaties, a regular player in my cereal cabinet, I believe sugar is listed second, but when you look at the nutrition label, and the total sugars for each portion size, it’s only in the neighborhood of 4g. If you want to convert that into a relatable portion size, that’s approximately 1 teaspoon.  when you weigh the benefits of the fiber and other health benefits of the cereal, a single teaspooon of sugar isn’t a deal breaker. That said, when sugar is the second ingredient out of a short list and on the nutrition panel you see 15g, or even more, sugars, that’ going to be one you want to avoid. A 12oz can of Cola has approximately 22g of sugar.

What I’m getting at is essentially the thought that knowledge is power. In order to make the best choices for your new healthy lifestyle, you have to know exactly what you’re choosing.

Today is a bit better, thanks for asking. Tomorrow, I”m going to share my suggestions for saving money, and still eating well.

Let me hear from you, what’s working for you, not working for you. Have you tried any of my recipes?

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