When it comes to weight control, it's important to eat breakfast. But if breakfast is a regular part of your day and you're still struggling with your weight, it may be due to an oversized breakfast portion. Large portion sizes have become the new norm, and you may need to get out the measuring cups and spoons to relearn what a normal-sized breakfast portion looks like.
Cereal with fresh fruit makes a healthy breakfast choice, but you may be eating more than you think if you're using a large cereal bowl. A standard portion of cold cereal is equal to 1 cup, about the amount that would fit into a wine glass, and a standard portion of hot cereal is equal to 1/2 cup. One cup is also the standard serving for milk and fruit. The Dairy Council of California says you can use a closed fist to help you estimate a 1-cup serving.
A high-fiber, nutrient-rich, portion-controlled breakfast might include 1/2 cup of cooked oatmeal topped with 1 cup of fresh raspberries and 1 cup of nonfat milk. This meal contains about 230 calories. For some healthy fat and protein, add a golf-ball-size portion of walnuts, about 1 ounce, to your cereal for an additional 180 calories.
Use smaller bowls and plates to help prevent overserving on portions.
One typical 4 1/2-inch diameter bagel is the equivalent of eating six to seven pieces of bread, according to an article on portion size in Fitness magazine. A better-sized bagel should measure 2 1/2 inches in diameter, about the size of a hockey puck.
Top your whole-wheat bagel with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, which is about the size of your thumb, and 1 cup of sliced bananas for a healthy serving of protein, fiber and potassium. This breakfast has about 405 calories.
The ideal pancake should measure 4 1/2 inches in diameter, the same size as a CD. A typical portion, according to ChooseMyPlate.gov, is three pancakes. For better nutrition, use a whole-grain flour such as whole-wheat or buckwheat flour, and in place of syrup top your pancakes with a cup of fresh blueberries. Round out your portion-controlled breakfast with a cup of nonfat milk. This portion-controlled breakfast meal has 365 calories.
A smoothie makes a good breakfast option for those who don't have time to sit and eat a meal. But if you're not careful, you can pack as much as 1,000 calories or more in a 40-ounce smoothie, says Fitness magazine. Keep it under control by limiting your smoothie size to about 8 ounces. A healthy, 200-calorie smoothie might include 1 cup of nonfat Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup of fresh strawberries and ice.
- ProCon: Portion Sizes: How Big or Small Should They Be?
- Fitness Magazine: Size Matters: Your Guide to Healthy Portion Sizes
- Health: 8 Tips for Controlling Portion Sizes
- Dairy Council of California: Correct Portion Sizes: How to Keep Portion Distortion in Check
- Dairy Council of California: Serving-Size Comparison Chart
- University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture: The Exchange List System for Diabetic Meal Planning
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: How Do I Count the Oils I Eat?
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Nuts, Walnuts, English
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: What Counts as an Ounce Equivalent of Grain?
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Yogurt, Greek, Plain, Nonfat
- Photo Credit Ruslan Grigolava/iStock/Getty Images
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