Thursday, July 21, 2011

Who Eats 1/2 Cup of Ice Cream?!?!?!?

With "maturity" came a surprise.  My body developed a life of it's own.  Gone are the days I could eat absolutely anything I wanted whenever I wanted to.  Suddenly that svelte body no longer exists and efforts to minimize those changes have not not produced the instant results I crave.  Worst of all is you find yourself in the supermarket starting to read all those food labels religiously.  How many calories?  How much fat?  Sodium?  What weird ingredients are in there?

At some point, while immersed in checking out these labels, I realized one important fact.  The serving size used has absolutely nothing to do with what a normal, average person would eat. I can only assume whoever chooses the portion to evaluate deals with 3 year old children.  I mean, who else would nibble on such a small serving? And no, I'm not a big eater.  In fact I usually end up taking half my food home from restaurants, so If I find it ridiculous, you know there's something wrong.


Let's start with Ice Cream as I found that the biggest surprise.  Lovely and luscious, a small bowl of ice cream can be a welcome treat when your sweet tooth begins to complain.  But did you have any idea how small that has to be?  Would you believe 1/2 cup?  That's right, when you look at the calories on the side of the ice cream container, it's only for 1/2 cup.  Who eats 1/2 cup of ice cream?  Definitely no one I know.  And the calories can range from 100 for a super low fat frozen yogurt to 390 or more for real ice cream.  If you are interested, some are listed at this website - http://www.calorieking.com/calories-in-ice+cream.html.  The biggest surprise for me was the Kirkland Frozen Yogurt at Costco.  They did list a larger serving size - 12 oz - but still a whopping 390 calories.

Campbell's Chunky Soup was another one that surprised me.  The calories in general aren't too bad if that's your meal, but the serving size has nothing to do with reality.  1 cup!  No really, 1 cup!  When's the last time you slowly and lovingly dined on that little for dinner?  I think of a chunky soup as a meal.  Rachel Ray often calls them "Stoups" - half stew, half soup.  What would you even serve that small of a portion in, a coffee cup?  To be honest it really wasn't necessary to do.  When eaten as a meal, the calorie count is not that bad.  It's only a problem if you're having a lot of things with it - sandwich, fruit, dessert, etc. That said, the small portion size here could be related to Sodium.  Canned anything always has a sodium issue.  Here is a link with information on a wide variety of Campbell's soups - http://caloriecount.about.com/campbells-nutrition-m432.


I'm sure you get where I'm going with this.  SO............if you're starting for whatever reason to read those labels, don't be surprised to find baby portions as the rule of thumb, and if the serving size is small when there doesn't seem to be a caloric reason for it - have a look at the fat and sodium. A few of my other favourites include:  cheese (come one - 1 ounce???),  potato chips (1 ounce or 11 chips - I always stop at 1 ounce just like with my cheese, don't you!),  pasta.(WHY pasta has so many calories I have no idea, but the serving size I often find used is 56 grams - 2 ounces.  Best guess is that is about 1/4 cup of dried pasta) and those condiments that find their way onto our sandwiches (It's good to know that we only use things like mayonnaise, ketchup, barbecue sauce and sour cream in 1 or 2 tablespoon portions).


In the end all we can do is laugh.  Life is a balancing act and it should include days of focusing on giving our body the healthy food it needs as well as the exercise it craves and days off to throw the rules away and just enjoy.  So try not to spend all your time in the store looking at labels and remember that in the long run, if you eat the freshest food available and make it from scratch as much as possible, you're definitely headed in the right direction.

Always good to end with a smile!!!

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