When It’s Safe to Serve Yourself Seconds

avocado and fresh veggiesEating “in moderation” is a catchphrase we’ve all heard for ages, but what does that mean, really? How can you be sure what is a moderate amount of a particular food?

The secret is to understand your dietary goals, the quality of the food you are serving yourself, and portion size. Sometimes it’s safe to have seconds, too! Here’s a guide.

NOTE: There’s no single right way to advise on eating style or daily requirements for all our readers. These are just guidelines and simple tricks you can apply to your own circumstances!

Eating Low-carb

Low-carb means limiting your intake of sugar and starches, especially sweet treats, breads, pasta and potatoes. There are many versions of low-carb diets you can follow. They require that you learn the basics about carbohydrate content of your foods, and pay attention to sugar grams, too. Because you’ll be restricting them.

In general, proteins and fats will make up far more of your plate. Those nutrients are found in higher concentrations in meat and other animal products like dairy, and a few plant foods such as olives, coconut and avocado.

  • With a portion of cooked meat equal to 3 oz., it’s safe to say you could serve yourself seconds of beef, chicken, fish, pork, or game while eating low carb. Those three ounces are the size of a deck of cards, by the way.
  • Dairy products present carbohydrate content in the form of milk sugars (lactose). A safe bet for a second serving might be plain Greek yogurt. (Greek yogurt has more protein and less sugar than standard yogurt.)
  • Some whole grain foods, such as oats, can be allowed on a low-carb diet, but single servings are best. You’ll be nice and full from a bowl of rolled or steel cut oats so no worries there.
  • High fiber veggies are the safest bet for second servings. Choose greens, cucumbers, asparagus, avocado, cabbage, peppers and radishes for starters. Serving size won’t even matter much, except for digestive sensitivity to fiber!

Join us for our January event “Operation Moderation” on January 29th to learn more about food selections and portioning for major dietary and nutritional considerations, and how to stay disciplined without feeling denied. Check your club for seminar times.

Eating Primal

You can take a page from the book of low-carb eaters to arrive at some of the instructions for eating a primal, Paleo, or “caveman” style diet. This is because on this type of eating plan there will be mostly foods that could have been hunted or gathered by our ancestors.

There are a few versions of this ancestral type of diet you can follow, each suggesting a few restrictions based on how the body digests food elements. In general, you will avoid anything mass produced or processed, which includes grains (you can’t gather wheat and just eat it). Also you will avoid dairy—farming isn’t part of the lifestyle. However, you can “gather” eggs.

  • As with a low-carb eater, it’s safe to say you could serve yourself seconds of meat and fish. Grass-fed, pasture-raised and wild-caught are preferred.
  • Fresh fruit, and nuts, are allowed on a Paleo-style diet. But due to their sugar (fruit) and fat/calorie (nuts) content, single servings are best… or a limit of three servings of fruit per day. Easy to tell how much that is if it’s an apple. What about a cantaloupe? Two slices means a medium melon, cut into 8 slices, you get two.
  • Once again, high fiber veggies are the safest bet for second servings. And for the “foraging” mention, don’t forget mushrooms, and tubers like carrots and beets. Although there is debate on the tubers, so if you’re going for a strict Paleo diet, you might avoid or limit!

Eating Low-Cal

Counting calories represents a dietary style that relies heavily on understanding portion size and specific food ingredients. There can be a big difference in a bowl of ice cream and a 2 ounce scoop of ice cream!

Calories in food represent energy—energy that your body will either use or store. There are other factors that affect your physical shape and body weight, but your calorie intake and expenditure is a major one. A traditional way to control your intake is to eat the right amount of properly portioned servings each day to support your healthy weight.

  • Many people eating low-cal opt for sugar substitutes to reduce the calories in their daily diet. Unfortunately, they do nothing to benefit your health. If you are using “diet” or sugar-free products, try switching to a natural alternative. For example, eat a bit of fruit instead of low-calorie cookies.
  • Many people opt for eating low-fat versions of foods to save on calories. These products are often loaded with extra sugar or chemical ingredients. Since fat substitutes do nothing to benefit your health, it’s best to avoid them. Better to have a few bites of the real thing. (Then walk away!)
  • Dairy products are lower in calories when they are reduced-fat… but it alters the flavor and satisfaction of eating them, so beware. However, non-fat milk or yogurt are safe bets for second servings, if you enjoy them.
  • Vegetables and fruits win again in the safe bet for seconds category. Go for it.


Eating Clean

Clean eating is one of the simplest ways to eat in moderation if you follow a few easy rules: avoid packaged foods whenever possible, eat your food as close to its natural form as possible, and try to know that your sources are as wholesome as possible.

Portions for those eating in this style will matter if you’re watching your weight, simply because even “clean” foods come with a heavy calorie count, carb content, and so on. But for most people, control comes more naturally when you limit ingredients and prepare food yourself.

  • Clean fats include butter (grass fed?), coconut oil and olive oil. A portion looks like the size of a poker chip.
  • Clean sugars include honey, molasses, maple syrup and dehydrated cane juice. Half a shot glass is a serving.
  • Organic dairy and farm fresh eggs would be best bets for eating clean. You can do two eggs, no worries.
  • We know veggies provide a virtually unlimited choice for getting healthy carbs into your diet, so have large portions, please.
  • Sticking with whole grain pasta and sprouted or sourdough breads with as few ingredients as possible is a fine choice for a clean eating lifestyle. But watch the portion—one serving of pasta looks like a pile no bigger than your two fists!

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