Written by Sandra Harris, ECOlunchbox Founder
The fast pace of our lives makes eating mindfully tough. It’s easy to resort to grabbing a quick bite in the car while we’re driving to work or taking our kids to their soccer game or music lesson.
Slowing down to enjoy lunchtime and all your meals is a fantastic step to being more aware of what you're eating and how much. One in three children in the United States are overweight or obese, putting them at risk for health problems that were once only seen by adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
I’m a mom of two, so I get it! Here are some of the things that help me and my kids to slow down, savor our meals, and eat more mindfully.
1) How much is a portion?
Start by learning about portion sizes. If you’re eating something out of a package, check the nutritional label’s recommended portion size and noted caloric value. Eating fresh foods and cooking at home? Ask your doctor for portion control guidance and check out Dietary Guidelines for Americans put out by the USDA and Department of Health and Human Services.
2) Measure twice, eat once.
I designed ECOlunchboxes specifically to help busy moms and dads pack the right portions and make meal planning quick and easy. You can find all the portion sizes for every product we make right on our website and on the bottom of the ECOlunchbox too! When you use your ECOlunchbox containers and bento boxes regularly, you’ll instantly know which size to grab for the perfect portion, based on what you’re packing. For example, The Oval is great for a salad, and the Splash box is the perfect size for hummus.
We also love glass containers and mason jars Still unsure? Use a measuring cup!
3) Learn to “ballpark” portion sizes.
Estimate your food portions relative to known objects, nutritionists advise. For example three ounces of cooked meat, fish or poultry is about the size of a deck of cards.
- ½ cup is the size of an ice cream scoop
- 1 cup is the size of a tennis ball
- 1 ounce of cheese is the size of a domino
- 2 tablespoons is the size of a ping pong ball
4) Plan ahead DIY single-serving packs.
If you’re a busy parent and/or executive, plan ahead and pack lunches and snacks ahead of time. For example, dedicate 15 minutes on Sunday evening to pre-pack your meals.
Re-portion into reusable food containers snack-sized quantities of healthy dry snacks; nuts and dried fruits; carrots sticks and other cut up vegetables, dips (like hummus, yogurt, tahini); and leftovers (like meats, soups, pastas or rice). This way when you grab and go, you’re sure to make mindful choices.
5) Variety is the spice of life!
Dietary variety is one of the core principles of nutrition. Have fun with your food choices. Mix it up!
Dieticians recommend that we eat appropriate portions of three of the five food groups at every meal.
Several of our containers are designed to fit three food groups, such as the ECOlunchbox Three in One, Trio Bento and stainless steel divided trays. Pack each of the three sections with a different food type and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’re covering all your bases nutritionally.
Hope these 5 tips are helpful in keeping you healthy. For more healthy-eating inspiration join us on Instagram.