“Deciphering Serving Sizes into Dog Years”
by Ellie Marrandette
Published on January 15, 2024

“Deciphering Serving Sizes into Dog Years”

An elephant walks into a store and asks, “Hey, ya got any trunks?”

Tell me, what’s he asking for? It depends. The word “trunk” means something different to a furniture store owner than it does to a Forest Ranger, a luggage salesman, a department store, or a used car salesman. 

In the same way, when I’m advising a patient that they can eat a “serving” of pasta, it means something different as well. To someone 350 lbs., a normal serving is like a twirl of a fork, but to one who is anorexic, it’s huge.

Serving terminology also needs clarification.

A 6 oz bag of chips or cookies might claim “only 100 calories per serving!” Read the label and you’ll notice the serving here is only an ounce. Eat the entire bag and you’re actually consuming 600+ calories!

Therefore, allow me to explain what serving sizes mean to the average person in “dog years.” (You know, if a dog is 12 years old, that means he’s 84 in human years. Now you’ll relate to its slowness.)

Let’s uncomplicate typical serving sizes:

Fiber Rich Grains: 1 slice of bread, 1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal, 1/2 cup cooked cereal, 1 tortilla, 1/2 bagel, or 32 strands of pasta. Look for 4+ grams of fiber per serving. 4 grams = a teaspoon.

Dairy: One cup of low-fat milk/yogurt/ice cream. 1-1/2 oz low-fat cheese, 1/2 cup cottage cheese.

Vegetables: 1 cup of raw vegetables or 1/2 cup cooked.

Fruit:  1 medium fruit, 1/2 cup sliced, cooked, or canned fruit, or 3/4 cup juice.

3 oz lean meat; (about the size of the palm of your hand or deck of cards. Consume anything loin, round, or white meat, poultry, fish, or eggs. (See my previous post from last week.)

Fat = a tablespoon which equals 3 teaspoons. (Fats are found in most foods except fruits/vegetables. An exception is avocado (good fat.) Choose primarily: monounsaturated olive, canola oil, flaxseed, walnut, or avocado oil. There’s beneficial fat in 1 teaspoon of real butter and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, walnuts, pecans, cashews, or other nuts. It’s not a travesty to consume a few nuts daily.

Remember there are basically only three food groups, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Most foods have combinations of each. Don’t make it complicated. Eat good quality non-processed foods in small/moderate amounts and you won’t gain weight.

How many calories you should consume depends on your size and how active you are. Lower your caloric count by 500 calories per day and you’ll lose at least a pound per week. Increasing your exercise activity will increase weight loss even more. However, cutting out too many calories will result in your

body slowing your metabolism.

Who wants to count calories for a lifetime? Nutritional balance is the most important aspect of weight loss. Increase exercise, eat nutrient-dense food, and you’ll build muscle which is the furnace that burns fat.

What should you eat? Simplify: Eat whole foods, not processed ones with preservatives and chemicals.

Eat as many water-based colorful vegetables as you wish. With approximately 25 calories per cup cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, and lettuce are basically free foods full of nutrients. They also hydrate and metabolize into water. Eat 5x’s more water-based vegetables than meat.

2-3 fruits make great snacks and a small banana or berries are perfect on whole-grain cereals. Approximately 60 calories per small/medium fruit and are water-based.

Choose 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy daily.

Understanding the above is simple. Now here’s where the confusion begins:

Starchy vegetables are considered a grain. These include potatoes, corn, pinto/kidney beans, peas, winter squash, and yams. They’re higher in fiber but also in calories. One normal fist size equals a cup.

A whole grain is one you can see, think corn or oatmeal. Whole grains are intact: these include quinoa, buckwheat, barley, oats, popcorn, and whole-grain bread. Look for whole or long-grain products for fiber and nutrients. Read the label. 1 bread slice can range from 60-120 calories per slice. Choose one with 4 grams of fiber.

Fats?  Use primarily olive or canola oils. Fatty salad dressings are the downfall here. Use a drizzle. Try making your own vinaigrettes.

What about desserts? Sure, use common sense, consume small portions, and savor each taste. Your brain will believe it’s consuming more.

Special Tips: www.webmd.com has a chart that will calculate how many calories you’d personally consume for your age, sex, weight, and activity level.

Some patients proudly stated that they avoid beef. Why? It’s one of the foods God declared fine to eat in Genesis 9:3. Beef is one of the few places the body gets B12. Chili with lean beef, beans, onions, and spices is not only high in iron, folate, and B12 which energizes metabolism, but also fiber. (Tip: brown and drain beef of fat before adding other ingredients.)

Hot spicy foods rev up the metabolism and send serotonin to the brain which also improves your mood.

Increase your water intake. It’s amazing how pure water will make you feel vibrant again. It depletes the body of toxins and sludge. If you’d rather have flavored water, add a bit of juice to your non-caloric, non-artificial sugar seltzer water. Good seltzer waters include Polar, AHA, Bubly, LaCroix, Schwepps, or any store brand with no artificial sugars added.

Exercise! We have become a sedentary society. Nothing good comes from that. Learn a new sport or play outside with the grandkids. Fresh air releases serotonin, the feel-good chemical. You’ll lower stress and increase an alkaline-inducing pH.

1 Corinthians 6:20 “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” God gave so much to us. Honor Him by dedicating your body to your Lord and I pray it’s not a potato chip.

Ellie Marrandette earned her Bachelor of Ministry (BMIN) from Trinity Theological Seminary. God’s direction guided Ellie toward a career as a licensed, certified nutritional counselor. After working with doctors, nutritional centers, and independently, she became the founder of New Creations Ministries, a faith-based solution in overcoming health challenges. In recent years, God has focused Ellie’s path toward writing. She is the author of four Christian novels, a novella, and a non-fiction book on healthy living entitled, Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese (Nutritional and Life Lessons God Teaches Us.) Her most recent book, God’s Furry Messengers was just published in July, 2023. All can be found Here. Her current endeavor is to complete a children’s devotional this year. For more about Ellie Marrandette visit her New Creations website.  

Feature Photo by Wallpaper Safari


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