Monthly Archives: August 2015

Portion Size -v- Serving Size

Things You Didn’t Know About… Portion Sizes

It’s no secret that Americans are getting fatter; according to the CDC, almost 35 percent of adults and 17 percent of children are obese. The problem is complex, combining          socio-economics and large-scale food trends. However, consumer confusion about portion sizes certainly plays a significant role.what's the difference between portion size and serving size?

Portions are not the same as serving sizes.

When it comes to packaged food, a portion size can be many, many times larger than the recommended serving size. Even so-called “single-serve” packages of snacks may contain two to three actual servings, and restaurant portion sizes rarely stick to single serving guidelines. A 12-ounce soda is considered a single serving, but many consumers buy 20- or 24-ounce bottles instead… and drink them as a single serving. At most fast-food restaurants, a 12-ounce soda is a kids’ size: the smallest available size.

And even serving sizes have their problems as guidelines.

Reading the back of packages to see the recommended serving size is a good start, helping to keep consumers from mindlessly eating an entire bag of chips in one sitting. However, serving size information can sometimes be arbitrary and inconsistent. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) creates serving sizes by using the “reference amount customarily consumed” (RACC): that is, the amount that people usually eat. While the FDA is currently using decades-old data for its serving size guidelines, those guidelines are slowly being updated to reflect the amount that people actually eat. So while the current serving size for potato chips is one ounce (12-15 chips), once the RACC accounts for current eating habits, that number could potentially rise. Smart consumers will read the nutrition information whenever possible, but still understand the ramifications of eating a serving.

Serving sizes have changed over the years… and not for the better.

When Coca-Cola first gained popularity, it was sold in a six-ounce bottle; now, 24-ounce bottles are the most popular. Twenty years ago, the average bagel was three inches in diameter and contained 140 calories; today, a bagel is five to six inches in diameter and contains 250 calories. During that time frame, an order of french fries went from 2.4 ounces (210 calories) to a whopping 6.9 ounces (610 calories). If you have any of your grandparents’ old china, go and look at their dinner plates compared to dinner plates that were purchased more recently. Do you notice any difference? In the 1990s, the average size of a dinner plate jumped from 10 inches to 12 inches. The size of our plates influences the amount that we eat, even at home!




How to Make Iced Coffee at Work

Iced at the Office

The average American spends over $1,000 on coffee drinks per year; going out every day for a $5 frozen latte can be an expensive habit! Luckily, USConnect and Route 66 Coffee give you coffee-shop quality coffee right in the workplace, and with a few simple tricks, you can concoct your cold drinks right in your office kitchen. For cold coffee drinks, we recommend the bold flavor of Route 66 Chicago Dark Roast. Or if you’re looking for a less caffeine in the afternoon, try Route 66 Sonoran Desert Decaf.

how to make iced coffee yourself

Easiest Method Iced Coffee

If your office uses a Keurig or other single-serve coffee machine, pack the reusable cup with your favorite coffee, and choose the smallest cup size on the machine. This will create a strong, concentrated brew that you can pour directly over ice without worrying that the coffee will be too watered down. The best thing about this method (if you have access to a single-serve coffee maker) is that you can make iced coffee to order, whenever the desire strikes.

Plan-Ahead Iced Coffee

If you don’t have access to a single-serve coffee maker, you can still have delicious iced coffee; you just have to plan ahead a little bit. Simply brew your normal coffee, and once it has cooled somewhat, pour it into a glass jar to store in the refrigerator for about two hours. When it is fully chilled, pour it over ice, and voila!

Cold-Brew Coffee

Cole-brew coffee takes quite a bit of planning, but the smooth taste is well worth the bother. When the coffee grounds brew without heat, they don’t produce as much acid, creating coffee with lots of flavor but less bitterness.

To make cold-brew coffee in the office, you will need a large jar, a cheesecloth or nut-milk bag, and your favorite Route 66 coffee. Simply scoop 1.5 cups of coffee beans into the filter bag, tie the bag, and put it in the jar with eight cups of cold water. Keeping this ratio, you can halve, double, or even triple the recipe as needed. Leave the jar on your desk or in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours to brew. At this time, remove the filter bag, squeezing the extra coffee back into the jar. You have your cold-brew coffee! This method makes quite a concentrated brew, so you will want to add milk, cream, or even just water to dilute it.



Not Feeling Quite Right? Try These Mood Foods

Before the growth of modern medicine, doctors prescribed different foods for different ailments. The practice died out as western medical treatments expanded, but a recent movement is bringing these ideas back to the forefront of our medical and social culture. Read on to see how what you eat can boost your mental and physical health.

if you're body is feeling off adjust your food to better your mood!

The Problem: You’re exhausted all the time.

Try: Foods with more iron, especially red meat. An iron deficiency can lead to anemia, which causes consistent fatigue. If you’re a vegetarian, look for dark leafy vegetables like spinach as well as some beans. See our article on Food Pairings that Increase Nutritional Benefits to learn more about increasing the absorption of iron into your body.

The Problem: You’re jittery and stressed.

Try: Cutting down on the caffeine. Although it can help you feel more alert, it can also increase stress and anxiety. If you’ve been a several-cups-a-day person for an extended period, decrease your caffeine intake slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms like headaches. Instead of coffee or a soda, try a mood-boosting shake: put a banana, strawberries, papaya, and flaxseed into a blender and shake it up for a serotonin boost without the jitters.

The Problem: You’re feeling depressed.

Try: Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which several studies have shown to reduce feelings of depression. The best sources of these healthy fats are fish like salmon, but they are also widely available in our Bistro To Go™ kiosks in nuts, peanut butter, and food with chia seeds.

The Problem: You’re feeling down in the dumps.

Try: Some simple carbohydrates. Yes, we all know that from a pure weight-loss perspective, eating plain carbs is not a healthy choice. But eating carbs without protein or fat allows your body to create tryptophan, which transforms into serotonin in the brain. A high-carb snack can be a great treat at bedtime, since it can also help you fall asleep.