Portion Sizes Count

We’ve been served huge portions for so long that it’s hard for us to judge appropriate portion sizes. For example, compared to the portion standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture, typical bagels are at 2 x larger, muffins – 3 x larger, cooked pasta – 5 x larger and cookies 7 x larger.

Protein Rich Foods 2-4 Servings Per Day
Meat, Fish Poultry 2 oz
Eggs 2
Egg Substitute ½ cup
Beans ½ cup
Protein Supplement varies
Low Fat Dairy 4-6 Servings Per Day
Low Fat Milk ½ cup
No Added Sugar Yogurt ½ cup
Low Fat Cheese ½ oz
Vegetables 3-6 Servings Per Day
Fresh or Frozen Vegetables ¼  cup
Leafy Greens ½ cup
Fruits 2-4 Servings Per Day
Fresh, Canned or Frozen Fruit ¼ cup
Grains 4-6 Servings Per Day
Bread ½ slice
Bagel ¼ small
Cereal ¼ cup
Pasta ¼ cup
Rice ¼ cup

This increase in served portions makes it difficult for us to eyeball portion sizes; so even if you think you’re eating the proper amount of food, you’re probably not.

Just how important is it for you to monitor portions? In a two-year study of people who were overweight, practicing portion control allowed 40% of them to lose 5% or more of their body weight. Those who didn’t monitor portions gained weight.

Try these tips to keep portions in check:

-Use measuring cups, spoons and scales to measure your food.

-Pre-portion foods by dividing into single portion sizes.

-Don’t skip meals or snacks. You’re likely to overeat at the next meal.

-Keep a food journal. Nothing makes you more aware of how much you are eating than keeping track of it.

– Make meals in muffin tins. Think meatloaf, lasagna, ham and egg cups, chicken tacos, enchiladas, shepherd’s pie, cheeseburgers, and quiche.

-Do your own cooking, pack meals and snacks for work or school. Nothing puts you more in control than preparing foods yourself.

-Limit food choices. Fewer food options translates into less food eaten.

-Serve proper portions and put leftovers away.

– Avoid distractions and remain mindful while eating.

– Set the stage for slower eating. Dim lights and listen to relaxing music. Chew slowly and put down your fork between bites.

-When eating out, ask for a ‘to go’ container when your meal comes. Dish out an appropriate portion and put the rest away.

– Plan meals and snacks and pre-record on your food log.

Download Healthful Tips: Portion Sizes 







About Deb Hart

Deb Hart is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. For the last 28 years, she has been helping bariatric surgery patients reach their health and weight goals. She teaches people how to set up a lifestyle that supports a healthy weight. Deb set up her own lifestyle to include lots of long walks with her furry family members, workout classes at her local wellness center, meal prepping, and finding new ways to enjoy foods without added sugar.
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