Saturday , 26 May 2018

Kyra’s Kitchen: I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing!

One can hardly avoid the articles these days on the growing [literally!] problem of obesity in America – particularly amongst children.  And unfortunately Texas is one of the States leading the way!

There is much talk of healthy diets and good choices.

The Government, which has been promoting the Food Pyramid for years, has finally come to the conclusion the rest of us already knew.  It is confusing – boring and wrong and does not WORK.  So they are now coming out with a PLATE showing how it should be divided into fruit, vegetables, grain and protein.


There is another factor which also ‘weighs in’ on the problem, and that is portion control.  We are ingesting many more calories than we used to – in some cases five times more.

When Ruth Wakefield invented her Chocolate Chip Cookies, the recommended cookie size was HALF what it is today. 

Today’s bagel is 2 1/2 times the size it used to be.  

The 1/2 cup recommendation for pasta morphs into a three cup portion plopped on your plate at a restaurant. This would feed a family of four for two days – in Africa.  

A  Coca Cola drink size was 6.5 oz in the 1960’s. A double Gulp is now half a GALLON!

Our perception of what a serving size is, has become skewed.  Let us see what we can do about changing that perception.

Test yourself with these 15 questions and see how many you get right.  No peaking at the answers until you are done.

Choose the correct suggested daily supply.

A] Grains – including bread, rice, pasta, cereal

  1. 6 oz. total
  2. 2 bagels, a large pizza, a couple of hot dogs
  3. Texas Toast, Spaghetti Bolognaise, 2-3 enchiladas

B] Vegetables  

  1. Two large corny dogs
  2. Two ½ cups assorted vegetables
  3. I ate a carrot yesterday

C] Fruit

  1. A bag of Starburst Fruit Chews
  2. I ate a banana last Tuesday
  3. Two cups assorted fresh fruit

D] Dairy

  1. Anything with whipped cream
  2. Three cups low or fat free milk products
  3. One, maybe two pints of Ben and Jerry’s

E] Meat/Beans

  1. Five and a half oz. meat, fish or poultry
  2. I HATE fish!
  3. Ooh! A nice Chicken Fried Steak for lunch and a 24 oz. steak for dinner.

Match up the portion volume with the corresponding foods

A. Deck of Cards 1. Butter
B. Golf Ball 2. Cheese
C. Computer Mouse 3. Green salad
D. Shot glass 4. Gravy
E. Two 9-volt batteries  5. Meat
F. Half a baseball 6. Green beans
G. Postage stamp 7. Salad dressing
H. Baseball  8. Baked potato
I. Computer Floppy Disc 9. Slice bread
J. Roll of film  10. Peanut butter – 1 Tblsp



DAILY ALLOWANCE:  A-1, B-2, C-3, D-2, E-1
PORTION SIZE:  A-5, B-4, C-8, D-7, E-2, F-6, G-1, H-3, I-9, J-10

Scoring Guide:
15 correct   Excellent – you must be a dietician!
10-14  Not bad
5-9   Uh! Oh!
0-5 Enjoy living large while you can – According to the experts you will have a shorter life span than your predecessors.

McKinney resident Kyra Effren is a contributing writer for’s “Food” section.  She is a retired food stylist and contributing writer for the “Food” section of Dallas Morning News. In 1975, Effren opened Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas and in 1978, she was awarded The Commanderie des Cordon Bleu in France for her contributions to French cooking.   She has edited multiple cookbooks and served as recipe tester for a number of cookbooks including both of the Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks by Dean Fearing and baking books by Nick Malgieri.

Kyra welcomes any and all reader comments and suggestions.  What would you like to have for dinner?


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