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Eating Healthy: Portion Control

July 28, 2012

The “super-sized” phenomenon has been in the news a lot lately, (particularly with New York City’s proposed ban on super-sized soda,) but while most Americans are aware that fast food restaurants serves large, calorie-packed quantities of food, sometimes, it is not as apparent that conception of portion control can be an issue at home, as well.

Hand in hand with proper portions, it is important  to have accurate knowledge of the approximate* number of servings. For those who need a reference, here is a brief listing** of what most adult women should strive for:

  • 9 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta
  • 4 servings of vegetables
  • 3 servings of fruits
  • 2-3 servings of milk, yogurt and cheese
  • 6 oz. of meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs & nuts

Yet what, precisely, is a serving of pasta? 1/2 cup, cooked. If you were to eat 2 servings in one meal, you would be eating the equivalent to a tennis ball.

How about a serving of milk? 8 ounces, which is usually about the size of your fist.

For a printable guide of visual references for portion size, click here***.

Now, if you have been eating larger portions than you would like, here are some tips to help you start eating healthier amounts at meals:

  • Use your dinnerware

There are a few prongs to this suggestion.

The first: try to use small serving bowls when eating snack items such as chips, which will make you less likely to indulge than if you eat straight out of the bag.

The second: try to use smaller dinnerware. Buying larger bowls, plates, etc., will encourage you to put more food on your plate. Also, buying square plates tends to suggest smaller amounts of food. If there is less food on your plate, you are less likely to overindulge.

  • When eating out, ask that half of your meal be boxed up to take home

Most restaurants serve larger portions than you really want to eat, but once those large portions are on your plate in front of you, it can be difficult to stop yourself from eating when you are full.

  • Eat more frequently.

Eating smaller meals more often is better for your digestion than a few large meals. Waiting to eat a few large meals can actually promote bingeing, so try to eat smaller meals and snacks throughout the day.

Becoming informed with regard to what a correct portion size is is an important step in trying to eat healthy. Do you have any tips or tricks regarding portion control? Share them in the comments below!


*The exact number of servings varies depending on the person’s height, weight, lifestyle, etc.

**This Livestrong article was an excellent source for deriving recommended servings.

***This excellent guide was created by and is available at WebMD.

From → Eating Healthy

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