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The Healthy Portion

We are a nation of eaters.  It doesn’t matter if we are vegan, vegetarian, or omnivores, we enjoy dining out.  What I have noticed about dining out lately, is that not all restaurants are created equal, and not all portions are created equal.  I am talking about the “healthy” portion.  An interesting idea when you think about it. I asked a friend today what she thought of last night’s dinner.  She told me they were healthy portions.  So I pondered that for a while.  As a health coach who sometimes has to create meal plans for clients, I have thought a lot about “healthy” portions, so much so, I have created several slow cooker meals in order to insure leftovers, as well as multiple uses. This post is not all about the portions I eat now versus what I used to. When I think of a healthy portion, last night’s dinner was not what I had in mind.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

Let me begin with yesterday’s lunch.  Once again at my favorite restaurant of late, True Food.  I had the Farmer’s Market Salad, a nice healthy portion of salad of farm, fresh ingredients.  It was full of English peas, artichokes, corn, kale, romaine, and asparagus; all in a light champagne dressing. It was the perfect size, the perfect “healthy” portion if you will.  I didn’t leave full, it was just right.  As a mindful eater, I was pleased with the just right amount of food on my plate.

Last night’s dinner was also a healthy portion, but not in the same manner.  At the Italian restaurant, my portion could have fed four.  It was a large amount of food.  It was angel hair pasta with Pomodoro sauce, delicious.  If a normal of serving of pasta is two ounces, then my calculation could be off by two, and I could have fed six.   It was  a great meal, and one I will enjoy again tonight, with some to share even still.

It is interesting to me that a restaurant known for its nourishing benefits, serves portions that are just the right amount of food, enough for one sitting and for one person.  Yet, the Italian restaurant, not necessarily known for its nutritive value gives you enough food to feed a small family in one entree. There is definitely a difference in restaurant genre here.  But is that a fair assessment of the issue?  Am I being too judgmental?

Perhaps we go to some establishments knowing we are going to the healthy portion, read: larger portion, we have come to expect.  Getting more for our money, or getting our money’s worth.  Why do we equate the value of a meal with its size?  Wouldn’t it be a better value in spending money on a balanced, beneficial meal?  I have come to realize since eating in this new way, the cost of eating a nutritious meal is a better value in the long run. I have realized that mindful, healthy eating equals less money in the long run in health care costs.  That healthy portion could go along way in saving on my checkbook.  In case you are wondering, I mean the health inducing portion.

Eating Mindfully

But we are, as I said, a nation of eaters.  You can’t go anywhere without finding a deal for you and your family, friends, what have you. There are “all-you-can-eat” offers, the buy one get one, and even the value meal.  All come with plenty of food to stretch that dollar.  I have had the pleasure of eating at several healthy restaurants in my area now, and not one of them has any of these deals.  I am seeing the direct correlation in portion size based on eating establishment. Since not every place I have been in the Valley is healthy, I am fully aware there is a noticeable difference.

I will continue my mindful way of eating, it has become such a habit for me.  Portions will always be a challenge for me, but I am winning the battle.  In my quest for eating more consciously I will continue to seek out places that dish up the kind of portion I like, a healthy one. Oh, and as for last night’s dinner, I did have two dinner rolls.  I said I was winning the battle, still working on the war…..

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