Change in perception.

Bento & lunch-packing talk that doesn't fit elsewhere

Re: Change in perception.

Postby ojami » Wed May 19, 2010 1:21 pm

Pangolin - How fun to meet another bento seller! ;) It is a crazy how much a town or a family's culture affect the idea of portion size, though I hadn't thought about it being a good thing in some areas. Thought provoking.
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Re: Change in perception.

Postby smoke » Wed May 19, 2010 2:30 pm

I just had a thought about Lunchables. Despite being mostly fat, salt, and sugar, how good would they be if they were duplicated in healthfood? One argument that supersedes the preservatives is how little you get for your money.

I'm wondering if the healthfood duplicate would even equal a proper serving for even the smallest child, or if all the packaging just makes it look like a good amount of food. I ran away screaming from the site that lists the nutrition information, the salt content number was more than double the calories number. The vitamin percentages seemed to check out, though.
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Re: Change in perception.

Postby Pangolin » Thu May 20, 2010 8:19 am

smoke - the current throey is that if the food itself it truly nutritious, you'll need less of it than you would the food with all the fat,salt, sugar, etc... since all that stuff does is create "empty" calories, and the heavy processing of foods generally knocks out a lot of the nutrients the ingredients originally had. So, a "lunchables" with healthfood might actually be smaller than the current one with all the processing and chemicals. If nothing else, if the portions were the same, you'd still come out ahead because the "stuff" in the food woulda ctually be doing your body good, and be used, whereas the "bad stuff" in the original lunchables isn't used by your body and the "good stuff" had all been processed out.

(My husband was a big fan of lunchables as a kid! He still looks at them wistfully at the grocery store. My mom, on the other hand, actually packed us "heathly" lunches that were similar...and they definitely tasted better!)
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Re: Change in perception.

Postby arewenearlythereyet » Fri May 21, 2010 4:16 am

Those are really interesting figures. Is there an official rank / chart online that you can direct me to? I would love to show this information to my kids. My eldest is really conscience about portion size and always has been but my youngest has a little less self control so I am always aware of how much they are eating!

Pangolin wrote:
ojami wrote:It would be interesting to look at portion sizes globally.


I can tell you that I sell bento boxes and tiffins in my shop in Columbus, Ohio, and the majority of people who come in and look at them don't immediately recognize they are "lunchboxes" because the perception is that they are so small.

The general idea of portion size here is really big... but, Columbus is always one of the fattest cities... for 2009, Columbus was ranked #18, but only two hours away is Cleveland, which was ranked #15 of the "fittest" cities in the US.

I would think that portion sizes have increased all over the world from what they were even 20 years ago. In some places it's probably been a good thing, but in most places it's definitely a problem.
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Re: Change in perception.

Postby ojami » Fri May 21, 2010 5:53 am

arewenearlythereyet wrote:Those are really interesting figures. Is there an official rank / chart online that you can direct me to? I would love to show this information to my kids. My eldest is really conscience about portion size and always has been but my youngest has a little less self control so I am always aware of how much they are eating!


I'm curious too so I'm poking around this morning:
There's an interesting article on US vs anywhere else portion sizes - but no "stats". I'd love to see an 8 oz pop here in the US. I might actually drink pop again on occasion if I could find smaller bottles. When we go to McDonalds for a once a month treat - I get a kids meal.

Also a looking at the FDA thinking about changing serving sizes - "One Bowl = 2 Servings. F.D.A. May Fix That" I'm not thrilled with the idea of the FDA picking my serving size as they can't get school lunch regulations right. But it may help with the portion vs. serving size issues. We can't just look at calorie count. Do I just want my growing kiddos to only eat 100-200 calories for breakfast? No. The cereals we eat (me included), we need two or more bowls to not be hungry again in an hour. I'm tracking the calories I eat of late too, so I can eat an amount that will help me take off the weight I put on at Christmas. (Mom got a Kitchen Aid mixer for Christmas and made hundreds of cookies. Man it's hard to pass on her cookies.)

I have to say that I really like the Japanese way of picking a serving size - like this guide by Biggie that I'm sure you've all seen. "Guide to choosing the right size bento box" It takes into account your size, activity level, gender, age, etc.

Any other interesting stats/articles out there?
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Re: Change in perception.

Postby Pangolin » Fri May 21, 2010 9:20 am

I came across this article yesterday: Healthy Kid-Size Food Portion Guide I read through most of it, and although I don't have kids yet, the ideas seemed pretty reasonable to me, from what I remember eating when I was little. (Then again, I was so small they told my parents to give me whole milk, and I got to eat pretty much anything I wanted... I just never ate much at any one time.)

Here's the list of the 2009 Fittest and Fattest cities. I don't htink any hit me as real surprises...especially not Columbus, where I live. DH and I ahve noticed when traveling how different other cities are in terms of the weight of the general populations. For instance, when we went to New York, we were a little surprised to see a lack of really fat people...because everyone there has to walk everywhere. When we go to Gatlinburg, TN, the people who live there are generally thin, as are most of the tourists, because the fun things to do there mostly involve hiking in the Smokies.

As for changes in height and weight due to certain foods being available, or at least enough food being available, this article talks about how Japanese women's average height has increased by 4" in the last 100 years - and I read somewhere else (can't find it now) that that has mostly been since WWII. They attribute it to increased consumption of milk, cheese, and other dairy products, which provide greater amounts of protein and fat bodies need to grow. As another example, my father and uncle were born during WWII when food was rationed and many protein sources, such as beef, were harder to find or very expensive. My family is short in general, but my dad and uncle are both under 5'6" and would have likely been taller if they had had access to higher levels of protein when they were growing. They also both have creases in their toungues, which apparently is also a sign of malnourishment or lack of protein.
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Re: Change in perception.

Postby gfbentomom » Sat May 22, 2010 7:01 pm

This is an interesting discussion. We have used salad plates as our dinner plates for over a decade. I can't remember how it started but I was surely influenced by the time I spent in Japan and their portion size as well as presentation of meals. We have also had the same set of dishes for all that time;) I saved the huge dinner plates for use as serving platters! Any reasonable meal looks so small and lonely on them. I have been known to bring empty bentos to restaurants on occasion(not always). I have to limit my portions for health reasons and before I start eating set aside the amount that I CAN eat on my plate and scoot the rest to the side, place on another plate, bread plate, tea cup saucer, or pack on a bento. That way I can just get it over with and move on and enjoy my meal. When I've brought a bento, I don't think that anyone has even noticed me packing up the remains of my meal.

Ojami,
Maybe the reason that a single serving of cereal doesn't sustain you is that it is a quickly digested carbohydrate. It spikes the blood sugar quickly and falls just as quickly. If you add fat and/or protein, idealy meat or eggs, to that meal, you may get longer lasting energy. Fat and protein slow the rate at which the carbs hit the blood stream giving you a slower, sustained release of energy. As someone with diabetes, I have learned that fat doesn't make us fat. It's the combination of easily digested carbs, insulin and extra calories. The insulin comes in where anyone, diabetes or not, releases(or injects) extra insulin to cover lots of carbs. Insulin is the fat building hormone. Without it we can't store fat. I agree that for many of us, 1-2oo calories for breakfast isn't enough.

Pangolin,
It's interesting to observe the Japanese-different generations and changes in diet. I am(caucasian) genetically predispositioned to be very petite but have never eaten much meat(until recently) and never much dairy. I am the size of many older generation Japanese. Many younger generation or those raised in the U.S. are so much taller and bigger than I am, not just weight but bone structure. Well, it takes very little to be bigger than I am! but it's often funny to see me between two generations of Japanese people. I guess I am particularly aware of the differences because I have always felt blissfully "average" when I am with petite Japanese women.
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Re: Change in perception.

Postby smoke » Sat May 29, 2010 6:42 am

I think the food presentation at Ruby Tuesday's is kinda neat. Their plates are about the size of the main block of my keyboard. Since they are wide they feel huge, but since they're such a severe rectangle, they don't need to pile on the food to make the plate look full. http://aht.seriouseats.com/images/20080 ... rplate.jpg

I still only hate half of my burger, I cut it to make it more manageable and got full. Good thing I didn't eat the whole thing in one day. Yuck
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