Mixed Messages about Food

Do you ever get exasperated with mixed messages about food? We hear so much about what we should and shouldn’t eat, what is a superfood and what’s not, that it’s hard to know what to believe.

American food writer Michael Pollan says: “The healthiest food in the supermarket is in the produce section… and there are no health claims! The quieter the food, the healthier the food.”

Dr Joan Sabaté of Loma Linda University explains: “A single nutrient or a single food is not the magic bullet – it’s the combination of foods that’s the most important determinant of health.”

Pollan’s summary is: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Watching your portion control is a great way to start improving your diet, says Gold Coast dietitian Amanda Clark.

But how much is too much?

Amanda has developed a plate that shows portion sizes of foods, half the plate filled with low starch vegetables, one quarter with protein the size of your palm, and the other quarter filled with low GI carbs.

Here are some tips from experts on how to eat smaller portion sizes:

  • Start with a glass of water.
  • Portion your food into smaller lots. Drink your coffee in a small size, or rediscover cold drip or short black.
  • Always eat from a plate, rather than from containers or packets.
  • Eat from a smaller plate and bowl. Studies show that halving plate size leads to a 30 percent reduction in the amount of food we consume.
  • Eat more slowly and mindfully, savouring each bite.
  • Limit your distractions while you eat. Take lunch away from your desk, turn off the TV and put your phone away.
  • Cook more. We’re often more conscious of making healthier choices when we cook.
  • When eating out, watch out for smaller sized meals as an option. Frigg Café & Bar in Labrador has a ‘secret menu’ featuring small meals priced at $12 and under. Caffé Republic Bundall has a section of their menu entitled ‘Lighter Options’. No need for you to miss out on your favourite dish: Bumbles Café at Budd’s Beach serves a half serve of F.A.T. (Persian feta, smashed avo and tomato) on sourdough for $10.

Photos: Frigg Café’s Corn fritters from the Secret Menu; Caffe Republic’s Avocado on paleo toast from the Lighter Options menu section.

Note: Published in The Sun on 30 May, 2018.