Liz’s Nutrition Notes: Portion Sizes

Portion sizes have increased over the years. With an increase in portion sizes comes an increase in caloric intake. Understanding portion sizes will help with planning meals and providing ourselves and loved ones with adequate nutrition.
What is the difference between a portion size and serving size?

Why are portion sizes important?

Portion sizes are important because they can play role in weight management. Eating large portions with little physical activity will likely lead to weight gain. It is helpful to read nutrition labels to make decisions about portioning. For example, a serving size of peanut butter is 2 tablespoons and contains 190 calories. If you are trying to lose weight, then you can use this information to determine how many portions to use.
Where is the serving size on the nutrition label?

QUICK TIP: Serving sizes can be as big or as small as companies want. Always check the nutrition label to verify the serving size and servings per container.
Check out the difference in portion sizes in the past versus now!

Visual Representation of Serving Sizes
If you are unsure of the serving size of food in front of you, use these tips to help.
Tips to reduce portion sizes:
  • Use smaller plates, bowls, and cups at meals. Smaller plates will help make smaller portions appear bigger. 
  • Eat slowly and listen to your body’s natural hunger cues. Pay attention to swallowing your last bite before taking another.  
  • Wait 15 minutes to allow your stomach to tell your brain that you’re full in between seconds.
  • Have a glass of water in between first and second portions.
  • Measure your foods.
  • Use pre-packaged single serving snacks rather than large, open bags.
  • Limit eating out; portion sizes at restaurants are often large. If you do eat out, order small sizes or cut the meal in half and take the rest home with you.
  • Limit eating out; portion sizes at restaurants are often large. If you do eat out, order small sizes or cut the meal in half and take the rest home with you.
  • To avoid overeating meals, schedule healthy snacks in between meals. For simplicity, look for snacks that have been pre-portioned.

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