The size of your fist. That is the recommended serving size for a protein like chicken or beef. Ever put your fist next to a restaurant-size serving of protein? Yeah, the slab of (insert protein here) is likely 2-3 times your fist. Serving vs portion sizes can vary dramatically, especially when eating out.
Oversized plates don’t help either. They make look beautiful, but when filled to the max allow for way too much food.
I was raised to finish all the food on my plate, but in those days my mom didn’t first serve a bread basket, followed by a 3-course meal. In 1993 the size of a typical bagel was 70 g, vs a hefty 86 gr in 2013 (and growing). The onus is on us to stop eating when full, instead of eating every morsel within sight.
Eating at home has its challenges too unless the refrigerator comes with a built-in portion controller!
And then there are snacks. Who eats just one serving size of chips? People are more likely to eat the whole bag, or when it comes to drinks, consume an entire beverage regardless of whether it 8, 12, 16 or 20 ounces (really 2-3 servings).
Thankfully 2016 guidelines have made labeling more transparent. As opposed to before when packages offered nutritional information for 1 serving irrespective of whether it was more, now beverages of varying sizes are marked “1 serving” along with the actual accompanying nutritional information, so you know how much sugar, protein, carbs et al. you will consume.
Even so, it’s not like it was in your parent’s and grandparent’s days!
According to the American Heart Association and the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation study “A Nation at Risk: Obesity in the United States”:
- Adults today consume an average of 300 more calories per day than they did in 1985.
- Portion sizes have grown dramatically over the last 40 years.
- Americans eat out much more than they used to. (hence, have less control over what and how much they are eating).
So what’s a person to do? Below are some options:
- Share and go splitzy’s with your buddy.
- Order appetizers for dinner. They’re usually the perfect size!
- Take half home – ask the wait staff to wrap it up in the kitchen before it even reaches your table so not tempted to overindulge.
- Hold the alcoholic beverages until dinner is served (this will help you avoid extra calorie-wise as well as getting tipsy). It also offers a great opportunity to hydrate!
- Don’t overstock your pantry. If some craving strikes, go ahead and indulge. Buy it, eat it and then throw it out.
- Fill up on water.
- Buy smaller plates.
- Avoid eating from a box or package. You deserve to a real bowl (and it allows for better portion control).
- Eat s-l-o-w-l-y and chew! Digestion starts in the mouth. Avoid gulping big bites of food.
- Heavy up on the veggies. It will make you feel full and the added fiber will improve digestion.
Suggested serving sizes are dictated by consumer educators and manufactures. However, portions are controlled by YOU and only you. Own your portions, don’t let them own you.
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™