Understanding Portions

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on September 2, 2004 · 0 comments

Except for a slice of bread, food portion sizes have grown over the last 20 years. Even the “average” restaurant dinner plate is 2 inches larger!

Twenty years ago, the bagel or muffin that accompanied your coffee weighed 2 ounces. Today, 4 to 6 ounces is more the norm.

When burger shops first opened, an average soda was 8 ounces, regular french fries were 2.5 ounces and the burger (plus bun) weighed less than 4 ounces. Today, they are 2 to 5 times larger than the originals, adding up to a 1,000-calorie meal.

A federal survey says Americans eat twice the standard serving of potatoes, 4 times the standard serving of pasta. We even eat large portions of good-for-you fruits and vegetables.

You may think larger portions are bargains. But how many extra calories are you eating? A soda is a soda, until you calculate that a large (32 ounce) soda, has 400 calories.

Next time you order, think small — sodas, popcorn, ice cream cones, french fries, even fruit.

Smaller portions = a smaller you.

Pick single-serving snack packages. How many times have you opened a bag of chips just to have a few, and then emptied the bag?

A one-ounce bag lets you to enjoy your favorites without sabotaging our weight loss goals. Single-serving pudding, ice cream, pretzels, peanuts,, and snack-size yogurt will help you keep overindulging under control.

Seeing is believing: These visual cues can help you keep portion sizes reasonable.

computer mouse = 4-ounce portion of meat, chicken, seafood
= 1 medium baked potato
yo-yo = mini bagel or 100 calories
tennis ball = medium fruit
ping-pong ball = 2 ounces cheese
= 2 tablespoons salad dressing, gravy, sour cream
thumbnail = 1 pat butter

For the calorie and portion sizes of over 20,000 foods, look for the all new and revised, The Calorie Counter, 3rd Ed., by Annette B. Natow, PhD, RD and Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: