In today’s “Super Size Me” era, food portions have grown so large that there are times when only half of the meal you are served in a restaurant is still more food than you really need. And, the portions at home seem to be keeping pace with restaurants. Americans typically eat far more food than necessary, which helps explain the rising obesity rates in our country.

Understanding healthy and correct portion sizes is critical to long-term weight management.

If you’re wondering how to determine what constitutes a portion size, the answer is in the palm of your hand. In general, one serving should fit in the palm of your hand. For example, a serving of bread is one slice; a serving of fresh fruit could be a medium apple or orange; and a serving of meat is 2-3 ounces of cooked meat. If it doesn’t fit in the palm of your hand, it’s too much food to count as one serving.

In addition to watching portion size, it is important to follow a diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Limit intake of saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

Finally, exercise is an important way to maintain a healthy weight. It’s all about calories in and calories out. You will maintain your weight when the calories you eat and drink are the same as the calories you burn; you will lose weight when you burn more calories than you eat; and you will gain weight when you eat more calories than you burn.

Our patients work with a nutritionist both before and after surgery to help ensure wise eating habits for life. To learn more about a holistic, long-term solution for weight loss that includes bariatric surgery, nutritional counseling, exercise therapy, behavioral therapy and support groups, register to attend a free upcoming seminar.