How many times have you heard the phrase "everything in moderation"? But what does "moderate" really mean? There is no scientific definition of this term, though nutrition textbooks define a moderate diet as one that "avoids excessive amounts of calories or any particular type of food or nutrient."
However, this does not tell us much about the meaning of the moderate and it can be subjective, depending on how many calories and nutrients you think you need. Fortunately, there are recommendations on how you can actually determine what “eating in moderation” means to you.
The average person should be consuming about 2,000 calories a day. If you divide that into three meals and two snacks, it's actually about 500 to 600 calories per meal and about 125 to 250 per snack.
Several factors can affect calorie intake and the meaning of moderate, some of which are gender, height, physical activity level and age. A man's body usually has more muscle than a woman's body, so men usually need more calories.
Also, someone who is taller has usually more body mass and that requires more calories, and the same is true for a person who is more physically active. During adolescence, your caloric needs are at an all-time high due to rapid growth and development, and as you age, your caloric needs decrease.
Calorie counting is a tedious way to figure out if we are eating in moderation. That's why a new term has been introduced that, although overused, is actually very important: portion control. It has emerged as a result of portions that are far from moderate, meaning they contain far more calories than needed per meal.
People have become accustomed to large portions too, and it happens that they serve four to five times the standard portion at home, especially pasta and packaged food. Serving sizes are mandatory on nutrition information declarations to assist consumers with control and moderation. Sometimes it seems to us that the given portion is too small, but, in fact, the intake of one or two times the amount indicated is a good example of moderation. Eating a whole packet of biscuits or half a box of cereals is not considered a moderate food intake.
The portions, in fact, should be similar to those served on an airplane or hospital - just nicer and tastier. Look closely at it next time and you will see different types of food but moderately served. Diversity is a key component of a diet that is often forgotten. None of the foods contain all the necessary nutrients, so you should take them from all groups. This will provide your body with all the nutrients that make it healthy.
The Advisory Board for Nutrition Guidelines in America published a report stating that 90 percent of people do not consume the recommended daily amount of vegetables, while only 15 percent eat enough fruits. Given that there is a much greater choice of fruits and vegetables on the markets than supermarkets, this data is particularly discouraging.
Certainly, it is not enough to eat a plate of colorful fruits and vegetables and say that our diet is moderate and balanced. Whole grains like brown rice should be brought in as well as whole grain pasta. Now the choice is much greater, given that the "popular" cereals that were used in ancient times are making a comeback, and the same concept applies to non-fat proteins, nuts, low-fat and low-fat dairy products.
Eating in moderation and variety can also help with weight loss, weight control and good health. However, a moderate diet is subjective. There are guidelines for bringing a more reasonable amount of food, so you should pay attention to them, and you can use the measuring cups for a few days to see exactly what the cup or spoon of some foods looks like. Also, to eat moderately, pay attention to how hungry you are before and after eating a small amount of food, so you will actually know how much you should eat. An old dietitian's trick is keeping a diary - it has more effect than you might think.
If all this seems too difficult for you, consult a dietitian or nutritionist. That's why they exist. They are trained to help you based on your needs and preferences.