How Portion Control and Healthy Eating Contributes to Overall Wellness
Think it’s time to give up your unhealthy snacking habit and pay attention to what you’re putting in your body? Healthy eating can seem like a chore at first, but as you whip up delicious meals inspired by a family recipe or your favorite YouTube cooking channel, you will be happy you made this lifestyle change. You will experience the benefits of eating healthy in the way you feel and look – more energy levels, less weight gain, clearer skin and so on. A big component of eating healthy is controlling portion sizes. So, even as you replace certain foods, eating in moderation will help you stay healthy.
Here’s a look at what constitutes healthy food and the benefits from including it in your daily diet. You will also learn about what happens when you overeat and how portion control helps.
Aim for more of these foods on your plate
Your body produces very little nutrients on its own and must therefore obtain it from food. Essential nutrients include vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Fruits and Vegetables: Contain essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.
Whole grains: High in B vitamins, which give you energy and maintain healthy brain and skin cells, as well as body tissues.
Protein-rich foods: Every cell in your body contains protein. Without adequate protein, your body's ability to make antibodies to fight off illnesses and infections, and produce new, healthy cells, is weakened.
Healthy fats: Nuts, seeds, fish and vegetable oils are sources of healthy fats that keep your body warm, help absorb vitamins, provide energy and protect your organs.
How do you benefit from eating healthy?
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Reduce the risk of serious diseases
- Keep your energy levels high
Healthy eating plays an important role in maintaining overall wellness. But a nutritious meal alone won't make up for a sedentary lifestyle or unhealthy habits such as smoking or drinking alcohol excessively.
Foods and ingredients to limit
Some foods, though satiating and satisfying, have no nutritional value and are just empty calories that result in weight gain and increase the risk of certain diseases. Here are key culprits to limit in your meals and snacks:
- Added sugars, which are not only found in sodas, fruit drinks, cookies, candy, cakes, cereals and yogurt, but also in bread, ketchup, cured meats and soups
- Too much saturated fat, found in butter, cheese, coconut oil and whole milk, can cause cholesterol to build up in blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke
- Refined carbohydrates are foods that have been processed to remove many of the nutrients they contain. Examples are white bread, white rice, pasta, breakfast cereals and desserts. They digest quickly, leading to spikes in blood sugar levels, which may cause mood swings and fatigue
- Too much sodium, found in table salt, restaurant food and packaged food, can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure, which can strain the arteries of your heart over time, leading to heart disease or stroke
In addition to eating healthy, serving size also matters to your health, as explained below.
What is portion control?
A portion is the amount of food that you eat during a meal or snack. While eating too little can prevent your body from getting sufficient amounts of essential nutrients, eating too much can lead to some unpleasant side effects.
What happens when you overeat?
It's difficult to overcome the temptation to overeat. While occasional overeating isn't harmful to health, it can make you sluggish, drowsy and cause digestive issues. When you eat more than what your stomach can take, it blows up like a balloon, and in most people, causes discomfort.
Fried and fatty foods take longer to digest. So, any pain or discomfort from overeating will also last longer. Moreover, the digestive juices from the food can move back into your food pipe, causing a burning sensation in your chest and/or a sour taste at the back of your throat, known as heartburn.
Your body uses some of the calories from food to produce energy and stores the rest as fat. The more calories you consume, the higher the balance of fat left over after accounting for energy production. Steady weight gain with no intervention can lead to obesity, increasing your risk of chronic disease, including cancer.
Benefits of portion control
- Helps with weight loss
- Improves digestion
- Helps you stay energized throughout the day
Don’t postpone your healthy eating goals for next week or month. You can start with a refrigerator and cabinet clean out of unhealthy foods. Lean on friends or family members for encouragement and support in sticking to your healthy eating habits. Take charge of your health now and see the difference!