I remember having a conversation with my mom about finding it more difficult to keep my weight within my healthy range as I reached middle age. Her response took me by surprise. She commented “well you just need to eat half as much as you did at a younger age”. That was hard to hear! Research has shown that portion sizes are out of control and have doubled in the last twenty years.
Information from MedlinePlus.com states that a recommended serving size is the amount of each food that you are supposed to eat (as listed on a product’s nutrition fact label) for a meal/snack . A portion is the amount of food that you actually choose to eat. If you eat meals and snacks without this awareness, you could easily consume more calories than your body needs or not enough of those foods that are nutrient rich and provide high quality fuel.
Common objects and your hand can be used to measure portion sizes:
- One serving of meat or poultry-palm of your hand or a deck of cards
- One 3-ounce serving of fish-checkbook
- One-half cup of ice cream-tennis ball
- One serving of cheese-six dice
- One-half cup of cooked rice, pasta, or snacks such as chips or pretzels-rounded handful, or a tennis ball
- One serving of a pancake or waffle-compact disc
- Two tablespoons of peanut butter-ping-pong ball
I live near a terrific wood-fired bagel shop, so sometimes I will indulge. This past Sunday I had half of a bagel topped with a little low-fat cream cheese and smoked salmon. I ate the other half the next day topped with a little peanut putter and some shredded carrot. I was able to enjoy this delicious bagel two days in a row! Eat half and save the rest for a later meal or snack.