Bite-size me! And your Favorite Foods, Save Calories!

Written by our Chief Nutritionist, Samantha Mark, RD, CDN

The bite-sized foods trend is taking over and I couldn’t be happier!

“Little” foods are not only tasty and adorable to look at, they also help us with portion control. It’s often not just the foods we eat, but how much we eat. It is important to practice portion control as often as possible. Smaller portions, whether regular meals (like quiche, above) or (especially) sweets, can help avoid overeating and save calories.

Let’s look at something simple: cupcakes, one of my all-time favorite foods. I am a fan of all types, with any frosting and cake combination. Obviously, these must be special treats and not consumed everyday. My best advice? Make minis!

There are multiple benefits to making miniature versions of your favorites. With cupcakes, for instance, beyond saving calories you can get up to twice or three times as many out of the batter! Bite size candy bars (similar to the ones you would hand out on Halloween) only cost you about 50-80 calories and maybe two-to-five grams of fat versus their full-sized counterparts, which can run you up to near 250 calories and around 10-15 grams of fat. This can really help when you are trying to eat healthfully.

My favorite thing about eating bite-sized portions is that they afford you the privilege of being able to taste more than one food. For a foodie dietitian like myself, this is nirvana.

Fortunately, many restaurants and food establishments are serving miniature portions of foods and desserts. This can make life very easy if you are trying to stick to a healthy meal plan. In many cases, a small bite of something is all you really need to “hit the spot.”

Typically, the first few bites of food are your most pleasurable, so a small version of something may be just right. What if bite-sized portions are not available? Make your own! If you’re with a large group, order a few things to share. Choose light options that are prepared in healthful ways, and split them with the table.

Opt for light fare like salads (with reduced fat dressing), lean proteins (such as grilled chicken and fish), whole grains (whole wheat pasta works well here) and of course veggies (mix it up- get two or three veggie dishes for the table to share–non-starchy vegetables are filling and can compliment almost any meal).

A serving of protein should be about three ounces (think the palm of your hand or a deck of cards). So, if you splurge on a nine ounce piece of red meat (steak), share it with others. This way everyone can try it and your portions are on point.

In today’s society, portion control can be a challenge. By practicing at home and when you’re out, your eye will learn to recognize the right amount of food that won’t wreck your diet. Remember, everything in moderation! Until next time, Sammi (@flwsammi)

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