Healthy Dinner Recipes: What to Know About Portion Sizes

When deciding on an appropriate portion to serve your family don’t go by the servings at your favorite restaurants. Most restaurants have been increasing their portion sizes over the past few years and our weight scales are proof that the portions are too large. We don’t need to eat like its Thanksgiving every time we sit down to a prepared meal. Here is what you need to know about portion sizes when choosing your next healthy dinner recipes.

Breakfast: A standard size breakfast should be in the range of 300-400 calories divided into calories from fat, protein and carbohydrates. Choose a low-fat protein from either meat or dairy. Turkey bacon is a better health food choice than pork. Try mixing fresh fruit and granola over a ½ cup of yogurt and cottage cheese for a tasty and nutritious breakfast.

Lunch: Your mid-day meal can vary in portion size depending on whether this is your main meal of the day. The advantage of this is that you get more time to wear off the calories than if you eat your big meal the latter part of the day. Your lunch portions range from 500 to 700 calories. For a lighter sized lunch, half a sandwich and ½ cup soup or a small salad with 1 teaspoon of salad dressing is a nutritious and balanced lunch without busting your calorie count.

Choose low calorie whole grain bread and lean meat or vegetarian proteins, an olive oil and vinegar dressing. For the soup, if you have a juicer make a nutritious soup base, or use a vegetable broth and add your favorite legumes and vegetables. If buying canned foods make sure you check the labels, as these are generally not the healthiest form of prepared foods.

Dinner: This is a great time to relax and catch up with our family or friends and what better way than sharing a meal at dinner. When looking for a healthy dinner recipe it is important to reduce the fat and simple carbohydrates while getting the right amount of protein to satisfy the appetite. If you have been keeping your calorie consumption in line throughout the day you will have a wide selection of foods from which to choose.

A standard size dinner should be in a range from 500 to 900 calories. A good way to measure the portion size of meat or protein is to use the palm of your hand to guide your selection. If it is chicken, or red meat it will be about a 4 to 5 oz portion. If it is fish or vegetable protein it will be about a 6 oz portion. The rest of your plate will be divided into vegetables and whole grains. Add ½ to ¾ cup of a complex carbohydrate such as brown or wild rice, couscous, or whole wheat pasta, and then add a mixture of fresh garden vegetables either steamed or in a salad to fill your plate.

Every person is different and so his or her calorie needs will vary with body type, weight and activity. Depending on physical activity levels the average male needs to consume 1700 to 2200 calories a day and the average female about 1200 to 1700 calories a day. These calories are best broken down into 3 meals and 2 to 3 snacks a day. Of course, no one wants to count calories, so it is important to pay attention to the foods you eat and the portion sizes. Look for healthy dinner recipes so you are eating a balanced diet, feeling satisfied and maintaining an ideal body weight.

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About The Author, Deborah Prosser