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Portion distortion: stop eating like you’re at grandma’s house

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Portion distortion: stop eating like you’re at grandma’s house

Freshman Kristina Dvorak is caught red handed eating a family sized bowl of pasta on her own.

Freshman Kristina Dvorak is caught red handed eating a family sized bowl of pasta on her own.

Veronika Dvorakova

Freshman Kristina Dvorak is caught red handed eating a family sized bowl of pasta on her own.

Veronika Dvorakova

Veronika Dvorakova

Freshman Kristina Dvorak is caught red handed eating a family sized bowl of pasta on her own.

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Many of us have fallen victim to a severe epidemic that has transformed the way we live. You may had been infected by it as a young child, perhaps at a restaurant or worse: grandma’s house.

Do not despair, for this epidemic is much more a set of  habits than an illness, and it is never too late to change habits. As portion sizes have grown in recent years, we seem to have forgotten how much food we should actually be eating.

The main sources of this problem are the food industry’s marvelously successful marketing strategies:  fast-food establishments are more than willing to promote the entire world to super sized meals (as well as pants) for a low price. Restaurant portions seem to be growing from one-person serving sizes to entire family platters, and grandmas throughout the globe are surely being payed to plot against us by insisting that we eat large quantities food at all hours of the day, even when we are not hungry.

Alternatively, it is possible that grandmas are not conspiring against us with evil intent to make us eat food; perhaps they encourage us to eat because they love us and want to make sure that they spoil us as much as possible. I like this second theory about grandmothers better. I can not, however, find a reason why the food industry would be feeding us humongous portions out of the goodness of their hearts.

The idea that bigger is better when it comes to food has lead us to eat like prize winning competitive eaters. As published on www.healthyeating.org, one study found that modern portion sizes of popular foods added an extra 50 to 150 calories. That may seem like a trivial amount, but an extra 100 calories a day have the potential to pack on 10 pounds a year.

Food packaging labels add to our confusion as to how much we should be eating with their wild portion size recommendations as well. The main way in which the portion sizes on food packages are based on nutrition is by being the lowest possible measurement in order to trick the public into thinking its a healthier option than it is.

Comedian Brian Regan criticizes these unrealistic suggestions: “A serving size of ice cream is a half a cup. Is that like a joke some guy put on there? Have you ever known anyone to eat a half a cup of ice cream? Imagine if I said ‘hey man, do you want to go get something to eat,’ and someone responded ‘Oh no, I had a half a cup of ice cream… I just kept eating and eating, I must had had a whole two spoonfuls.'”

Despite the confusion that growing portion sizes and shrinking food labels have caused, it is not too late to save ourselves. Instead of measuring my consumption based on restaurant plates, nutrition labels, or what other people eat, I base the amount I eat off of my own size. For instance, one serving of pasta is about the size of one fist per person. Seeing as I am a relatively small person, I should eat less than a tall guy, but more than an eight year old. That is why following standardized portion sizes at restaurants and on nutrition facts is so unreliable; every individual needs to consume the right amount for his or her body.

Another important idea is making sure that all of the “food groups” we learned about as munchkins are consumed not only in the proper portion, but also in proper proportion to each other. A general rule of thumb is making sure that vegetables make up half of your plate, carbs make up one fourth, and the last fourth is a protein source.

Portion and proportion guideThis is the correct way a plate of chicken parmesan with salad should look. Notice that there is only half a chicken breast on this plate; a portion of meat should be the same size as the palm of your hand.

To make a similar plate but in your own correct portion size, here’s a quick and easy recipe:

Chicken Parmesan with angel hair and salad:

 Ingredients:-Chicken breast

-One egg

-Bread crumbs

-Italian herb mixture

-Garlic powder

-Tomato sauce

-Shredded cheese

-Olive oil

-One clove of Garlic

– Angel hair pasta

– Leafy green salad with your favorite dressing.

*Amounts of ingredients intentionally not specified so that you can make a proper serving size for yourself.

 Chicken Parmesan: Preheat your oven to 400°F, and then crack the egg into a shallow dish and beat it. Combine bread crumbs (about 1/4 cup per chicken breast,) a bit of garlic powder, and italian herb mixture in a separate shallow dish. Thoroughly dip the chicken breast in the egg on both sides, and then coat it in the bread crumb mixture on both sides as well. Place the chicken on a cookie sheet and drizzle with a tiny amount of olive oil. Place it in the oven for twenty minutes. After the twenty minutes, remove from the oven and spoon some tomato sauce onto each piece of chicken, and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake that for another ten minutes. Angel Hair Pasta: Boil angel hair pasta as directed, and strain. In a pan that will fit all of the pasta, fry a clove of garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the pasta in and stir it so that the oil is distributed evenly throughout the pasta. Add some shredded cheese, salt, and pepper to taste.
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About the Contributor
Veronika Dvorakova, Art Director/Columnist

A strange mix of creative and organized, Veronika has stumbled her way into the Carlmont journalism program as the local artist. Journalism gives her a...

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Portion distortion: stop eating like you’re at grandma’s house