Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year, everyone! The Hunger Busters are back with a new team and a new resolve to help you with your Nutrition questions!

I’m sure we can agree that 2017 was a trying year for all of us, with Hurricane Harvey affecting life in Southeast Texas well after the storm hit. We sincerely hope for new beginnings for each and every person affected by the hurricane.

With that said, I am proud to introduce our new Nutrition Education Specialist, Somi Muthuraju! She graduated from Lamar University Dietetic and Nutrition Department in December of 2017, and is excited to start working hard to improve the knowledge about nutrition in our community.

This month, we thought we would start with something easy to apply to anyone wanting to create that healthy eating resolution and make it a reality: Portion Distortion.

“Portion Distortion”- they’re familiar words, but what does it really mean? Let us break it down:

A portion is the amount of food we choose to eat for a meal or snack. Portions can be big or small.
A serving is a measured amount of food or drink, such as 1 slice of bread or 1 cup (8 ounces) of milk.

Many foods that appear to be a single portion contain multiple servings. For example, the average size of a soda bottle holds 16 ounces. The 16 ounce soda is usually consumed in one sitting as one portion. However, if you check the nutrition label (located on the back of a food item) one serving of soda is 8 ounces. So the 16 ounce bottle of soda is two servings, and should be considered as two portions.

The same thing goes for a steak. Your meat serving at each meal should only be 3 to 4 ounces, but steaks today (especially in restaurants) range from 6 to 12 ounces, with the popular Porterhouse weighing in at 22 ounces (per Saltgrass). They’re presented as one portion but they all have 2-5 servings.

And that’s what portion distortion is-growing portion sizes that can feed 2 to 3 people, but are considered a “normal” portion size. Over the past 20 years, foods have doubled, almost tripled, in portion sizes.
Pasta has increased from a 1 cup portion to 2 cup portions.
Bagels have increased from 3 inches round to 6 inches round.
Muffins have increased from 1.5 ounces to 5 ounces in weight.
Obviously, increased portion size means increased calories. So these increases in portion sizes increased the calorie intake by 300 to 500 calories- and while these numbers may seem small, they can pack on extra pounds over time.

So how can we avoid portion distortion?

Use the handy guide for serving size! (see below)
Learn to read and understand the nutrition label: Pay attention to the number of servings per package and note the number of calories and fat per serving. If a large muffin has 250 calories and 10 grams of fat per serving, and the muffin itself is two servings, we’re consuming 500 calories and 20 grams of fat.
Use a smaller plate! Your plate will look full but you’ll be eating less.
Eat 1 reasonable serving and avoid second helpings.
Share meals- you’ll eat more reasonably and save money!
Eat half or less: Eat half your meal and take the rest home to enjoy as another meal.

So, for the months December through February, here is a list of some familiar (and hopefully some unfamiliar-NEW!) produce in season for you to add to your grocery list:

Produce for December-February:
Brussels sprouts
Collard greens
Mandarin Oranges
Red currants
Sweet potatoes

This month’s recipe is sure to keep you warm with a twist on an old fashioned favorite:
Chicken and Dumpling Soup

Let’s check in with our Diabetic Administrator, Nancy, to see what’s going on in the Diabetic Program:

The Diabetic Nutrition Pantry Program is off to a great start this year. Proper nutrition works! Participants who have attended the workshops held since November are giving positive feedback. Three workshops are available to learn details about carbs, fats, fiber, what a protein is, it’s function, and how it is structured. The theme of our monthly Healthy Food Box is “Protein for Breakfast and on the Go”. Come for the nutrition information and receive a free box of food, or sign up for the program for the monthly box. Call the office at 839-8777 for more information on locations, times and dates.

That’s it for this month, we’ll be back in February for some great tips and a yummy recipe video!

Did you know that a $10 donation can provide up to 30 meals for desperate people in your community? By making a donation, you are helping to ensure that hungry children in Southeast Texas are adequately nourished, that none of our senior citizens are forced to chose between medicine and food, and that every family facing a crisis can at least have the assurance of food on the table.

Your gift goes a long, long way!

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