Pondering Portion Control
Timeless Nutrition Tip
Over the last 20 years one cause of our ever expanding waistlines is portion sizes. With bigger portion sizes, our average daily intake in the U.S. is 148 calories more today than it was in 1980. That could add up to 15 pounds or more a year!
Words many find appealing in descriptions of their favorite foods are "jumbo", "over-sized", "buy one, get one free" (BOGO), "super size", "double", and worst, "all you can eat" buffet style and smorgasbord style restaurants.
People are becoming accustomed to larger portion sizes and are serving them in their homes as well as eating them in restaurants. Here are some ways to determine a proper portion size without having to weigh or measure:
- 1 cup. The size of your fist. Example: About two servings of pasta or oatmeal.
- 1 ounce. The size of your entire thumb. Example: A piece of cheese.
- 1 or 2 ounces of snack food. A handful. Example: 1 ounce nuts=1 handful; 2 ounces pretzels=2 handfuls.
- Single serving of mayonnaise or margarine. Thumb tip. Example: A small dip of the knife (don't make it a high dip!)
- 3 ounces. Palm of your hand. Example: A cooked serving of meat.
Controlling Portion Sizes at Home
- When you get home from grocery shopping, divide your meats and fish into portions right away.
- When you are eating at home, divide your cooked food into portions in the kitchen and put them on individual plates for serving. Leave the remaining food in the kitchen while you eat to reduce the temptation to take more.
- Ingredients matter, too. This is an important fact to keep in mind. Choose low-fat alternatives whenever possible.
- When eating in a restaurant, try to leave half of your food on your plate. Take the leftovers home for another meal. Say "No, thank you", to appetizers. Split an entree' with a friend or partner. You'll both benefit. Do not be fooled by salads that sound "healthy". These are often doused with fattening dressings and filled with high fat ingredients.