Let’s go back to 1950 where everything seemed much simpler. A gallon of milk cost $0.85, gas cost $0.18 per gallon, and a cheeseburger was roughly $0.20 with fries being an extra $0.10. Now guess how many calories were in that meal? Not only have the prices increased, but so have the portions. A typical burger used to weight 3.5-4 ounces and now our burgers range from 8-12 ounces. A side of fries used to be 2-3 ounces and now they are 6-7 ounces. That’s going from an average of 190 calories for one burger patty to 400-600 calories in today’s burger patty. That is before you even add the bread, cheese, and toppings!
Of course the cost of living was very low and much different than today in 2015, but Americans did not have the same out of control portion sizes in their food as we do today. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all enjoyed in moderation. Fast food, home cooked food, it was all served alike. If you were Italian your grandparents probably ate a lot of pasta. If we ate pasta every day we would be overweight right? Wrong! If we ate a serving of pasta everyday which is ½ cup I’m sure most could fit that into their calories, even up to 1 cup. A serving of pasta you might receive in a restaurant today is 3 cups! Could this be why most Americans were not as obese and overweight as they are today, facing serious health issue?
Today when most of us go out to eat we tend to eat everything on our plate. How come American’s now are conditioned to eating such large meals? Why do we get mad at the waitress if there is not enough cheese on our eggs? We get upset if our side of potatoes is actually a “side” of potatoes and not enough food for two. Today the competition in restaurants is who can serve a bigger serving of food.
It’s no wonder more and more Americans are becoming sick with high blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure. Food allergies and food sensitivities are popping up like an epidemic now. Everyone seems to be going on a miserable diet, starving themselves, and eating nothing but fish and salad for a few weeks. How come back in 1950 families were able to eat meatloaf, potatoes, and green beans for dinner and still have a slice of cake with dessert? Portion, portion, portion! Back then when life itself was much simpler, diets were much simpler, and Americans had more portion control. We weren’t going to The Cheesecake Factory having a slice of cheesecake that starts off at 900 calories and can range up to 1300 calories or more. That’s almost all of the average person’s calories for the day!
So if we could take a thing or 2 back from the 1950’s – unfortunately no not gas prices, let’s take portion control back and help get ourselves back in shape while enjoying our favorite foods. Next time you go out to eat, immediately pack up half of your food to go for lunch the next day. Let’s remember to eat our food in portion sizes, that way you can have your cake and eat it too, of course!
Erica Dee Torres, Personal Trainer and Physical Therapist Aide has been involved in Sports & Fitness her whole life, with over 12 years of training in Jiu-Jitsu and Kickboxing, and Bodybuilding the past 5 years. She loves to share her knowledge and experience in hopes of helping others looking to chase their goals and dreams.