Portion Control

Portion control plays a very important role in weight management and weight loss. Are you like most people who started off the New Year eating healthy and working out but are not seeing a decrease on the scale? Well, you may need to look at how many calories you are consuming and re-evaluate your portion sizes.

portion control

Portion control—paying close attention to how much you eat could be just what you need to boost your weight loss efforts.

For those of you who are not aware, portions have increased so dramatically over the past 20 years or so especially in restaurants and buffets. Americans have learned our portion control from fast food restaurants and even the supermarkets in which we frequent often. This is NOT good because the rise in overweight and obesity is at an all time high!

Order a cheeseburger (1lb in most places) or a plate of spaghetti and notice that the plate is as big as your head. Being fully aware of how many calories are in items such as these will help you tremendously. Even splitting a meal with your dinner partner or taking half of it home will save you hundreds of calories. We need to become more aware of the types and SIZES of foods that we put in our body.

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Serving VS Portion

Know the different between a serving and a portion?

A portion is the amount of food that you serve yourself in one sitting without paying attention to how much you put on your plate. A serving is a specific amount of food or recommended amount of food in common measurements such as cups, ounces, or pieces. Utilizing a a nutrition label to determine calories per serving is very helpful. Salad dressing is another one that we tend to over induldge on these days. A tablespoon is equal to the size of your tip of your thumb. Same for butter, margarine, oil or mayonaise. The side dressings can really tack on the calories so watch out for them!

Most of us do not want to walk into restaurants carrying around a measuring cup to determine serving size so here are a few tips, using your hands, on how to judge just how much is a serving.

A fist or one cupped hand = 1 cup.

Palm = 3 oz of meat

A thumb = 1 oz of cheese.

Thumb tip – 1 teaspoon

1 tennis ball = 1 serving of fruit

Handful = 1-2 oz of snack foods such as nuts, chips. pretzels, etc.

>> A serving of cereal is about the size of a tennis ball and a medium sized potato is approximately the size of a computer mouse.

>> A deck of cards is equivalent to 3 oz of beef, chicken, or pork.

>> Cheese (1 oz) is another difficult one to measure but is about one serving is equal to 4 small ice cubes or dice.

I highly recommend you check out the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute’s interactive portion control and portion distortion quizzes. You will learn about how much portion sizes have changed over the past 2 decades.