Nutrition by Color by Tiffany Anderson
After having my second child, I was a young mom who needed some “me” time, and decided to go back to work as a preschool teacher. My teaching including leading a circle time instructing other moms on how to help their children with small hand coordination tasks such as picking up beans, and stringing macaroni and, . . . learning perception using stacking cups. Preschool stacking cups come in cylinders or squares and range in colors. The child must place a cup barely smaller than the original into the larger cup until all of the cups are sitting cozily inside.
Fast forward 12 years and now my children are teenagers, and I am still teaching perception, with stacking cups. The only difference is that now, the perception I teach pertains to food. I teach grown-ups portion control using the same tool that was used in preschool; stacking cups. I wish that I could take credit for this idea, but I must give credit where it’s due and that’s to lady Bodybuilder Autumn Calabrese. She created system colored portion control system that Montel Williams is now highly recommending on his daily television show.
Most folks are aware that the body needs a well balanced diet. Meaning we all need fruits, vegetables, fats, carbohydrates, proteins and water. The question is, how much? The stacking cups provide a person with the size of food portions. Each color represents a piece of the nutritional equation. Thats where the stackable containers take the guessing away. No tallying points or measuring ounces on a scale, or counting calories. Just measure the food in your colored cup and your preplanning has begun.
Green cup: vegetables such as carrots, celery, kale, spinach, cauliflower, snow peas, cabbage
Purple cup: fruit including all berries, apple, cantaloupe, grapefruit, kiwi, mango, peach
Red cup: protein including lean meat, tempeh, tofu, eggs
Yellow: Starch including brown rice, beans, lentils, corn, 1 slice wheat bread, English muffin, pita
Blue: Good fats including nuts, avocado, hummus, cheddar, feta, Provolone cheese
Orange: seeds, oil, olives
Teaspoon: oil, chocolate chips
Now, the question becomes how many portions of each food type.
The number of portions depend on a persons’ life style including activity level. The equation for maintaining weight is your weight in pounds X 11. If a person does activity, then we add more energy (calories) to the equation. Let’s add 400 calories. Weight X 11 + 400 = calories needed to maintain weight. If a person needs to lose some weight, then we subtract 500 calories.
Here is an example.
Let’s pretend that I am 160 pounds.
160 X 11 = 1760 = calories needed to maintain current weight WITHOUT exercise each day
1760 + 400 = 2160 = calories to maintain current weight WITH exercise each day
2160 - 500 = 1,660 = calories to lose one pound a week
And here is the magic portion control grid. Find the calories necessary for you to obtain your goal on the left, and the portions by color in each column.
The portion control measurement is listed under each color. However, if you like the convenience of color, the colored cups can be purchased at coachtiffanyanderson.com
Whether you decide to eat vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, Atkins, Bulletproof or Southbeach, everyone still needs a system to understand how many portions and what recommended portion size is.
Whether its working with preschool students or grown-ups, its the same. Portion control is about perception. Its monitoring and regulating how much food we need to sustain our daily activities. Preschool children are lucky. They have doting grown-ups to parse out food in small increments. We grown-ups now need to do the same for ourselves. It takes back planning every meal that we eat.