Three Fail-Safe Solutions for Sensible Portions
“Portion control!” Does the mere mention of the term make you cringe? Controlling portions is difficult for everyone, but I believe it is even harder for people who are blind or have low vision. I’m here to give you some helpful tips so it doesn’t have to be such a chore. When faced with a situation where you are not sure how much to eat, there are three basic things you can do.
1 Do it Yourself
When you are preparing your meals at home, you have a great deal of control over your portion sizes. Though it may be tedious, I find it helpful to weigh and measure my food. I find an ice cream scoop with a lever especially useful for this purpose. The lever makes getting the food out an easier and quicker process. You’ll want to confirm this is the case with the one you have, but generally, a level scoop contains one fourth cup. You can also purchase scoops for making cookies that are great for easily measuring condiments or smaller amounts of ingredients. I have a scoop that measures one tablespoon, and is ideal for nut butters. If you want to get the entire family involved, you can also buy serving spoons designed to measure in one half, three fourths, and one cup sizes. I also have a few fourth or half cup containers with lids that are great for storing individually-sized portions of snacks. If you don’t know how much of a specific food you should have, you can consult sites like My Fitness Pal, and Calorie King, which also have their own smart phone apps. If you are just getting started, you might want to consult a nutritionist to learn about the amounts of various foods that might be best to eat. You might also want to contact your state agency or Association for the Blind for help from a rehabilitation teacher to learn to weigh and measure your food, if you need to learn how. Many of the catalogs with products for people with low vision sell talking kitchen scales and tactile measuring cups. To find serving sizes and calories in many packaged products, check out Directions for Me, which has an extensive database of foods.
2 Ask for Help
Though it takes some time to figure out portion servings when I am at home, the real trouble starts when I eat somewhere other than in my own home. In those cases, I find I need to ask for help. I might ask the server at a restaurant to suggest a meal that is on the smaller side, or I might order from the Senior Citizens’ menu if I can. Generally, portion sizes at restaurants are nearly twice the size of what we need, or what we would eat at home. If I can’t easily tell with my fork or a carefully-placed finger, I may ask questions like, “Is that a half or a whole chicken breast?” I’ll also sometimes ask the server about how many ounces the entrée is, if I haven’t already found that information on the menu. I often ask for a small to-go container to be brought with my meal. I try to save roughly a third to a half of what I’m having for lunch, with the exception that if they are separate, I eat all my vegetables with dinner.
3 Let it Go
Sometimes, you are eating at someone’s home, and maybe the food is unfamiliar. Or maybe it’s a buffet, and the order of the day is a dab of this and a bite of that. Sometimes, the best you can do is to make the best choices you can, and move on. While this shouldn’t be an everyday occurrence or provide the rationale to be completely unrestrained, there’s also no point in obsessing over those things you don’t know and can’t change. If you’re spending time with people you care about, let that be your focus, not how closely you stuck to your goals. If you choose more fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, then you have a bit more overall leeway.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that you are controlling the portions and making the decisions that will aid you in living your best and healthiest life.