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Controlling Portion Sizes

September 13, 2017

Eating smaller portions of food is one of the easiest ways to cut back on calories – but it can also be one of the most challenging, with the current trend of super-sizing. Huge portions, all-you-can-eat-buffets, and extra-large “single servings” of chips, candy bars, and other snack foods can all lead to overeating.

How do you know a reasonable portion of food when you see it? Visualize the objects mentioned below when eating out, planning a meal, or grabbing a snack. For example, the amount of meat recommended as part of a healthy meal is 3 to 4 ounces – it will look about the same size as a deck of cards.

The look of normal portion sizes

  • 1 oz. meat = size of a matchbox
  • 3 oz. meat = size of a deck of cards or bar of soap (the recommended portion for a meal)
  • 8 oz. meat = size of a thin paperback book
  • 1 medium potato = size of a computer mouse

Even some bagels have become super-sized, which gives this reasonably healthy breakfast item a high calorie count. Bakeries and grocery stores often carry jumbo bagels that measure 4¼ inches across and contain 300 to 400 calories each. A regular, 3-inch-diameter bagel has about 150 calories.

To eat smaller portions, try the following ideas:

When eating out

  • Choose a regular single hamburger at your favorite fast food stop instead of the larger burger or the double burger.
  • Have the small fries instead of the super-sized.
  • Order a small soda or, even better, drink water.
  • Share an entrée with a friend when you go to a restaurant.
  • Ask for half your meal to be packed for you and eat it for lunch the next day.

At home

  • Don’t “eat from the bag.” When snacking, place a few chips, crackers, or cookies in a bowl to help keep from overeating.
  • Buy single portions of snack foods so you’re not tempted by the whole bag or box.
  • Like butter and sour cream on your baked potato? Mayonnaise and cheese on your sandwich? Cream cheese on your bagel? Use half the amount you usually do – and save even more calories by using low-fat varieties.

Boost servings of fruits and vegetables

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends at least 2½ cups of fruits and vegetables each day to help prevent cancer. Substitute low calorie, high-fiber fruits and vegetables for higher calorie foods and snacks – it will help you get the fruits and vegetables you need, feel full, and save on calories!

Source: American Cancer Society

Portion control

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