Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Super-sized Portion Size

Is this a chicken and egg thing? As Americans continue to grow larger, so does the size of our meals and snacks. And now, the number of obese adults officially outweighs the number of those who are merely overweight. But back to portion sizes . . .

The foods we buy today are often between two and five times the size they were when first introduced (such as a serving of french fries, or a 64-oz Double Gulp). Or, look at the amount of food that fills that really big plate when you go out to eat.

This is where portion size and portion control comes into play. To help visualize serving size:

  • A serving of pasta should be no larger than a tennis ball
  • A serving of vegetables or fruit is about the size of your fist, or a baseball
  • A normal serving of meat, fish or poultry—about the palm of your hand (don't count your fingers!)—for example, one chicken breast, ¼ pound hamburger patty or a medium pork chop
  • A 3-oz serving of fish—the size of your checkbook
  • A 3-oz serving of meat or poultry—a deck of cards
  • A small baked potato—think computer mouse
  • A teaspoon of peanut butter—the size of your thumb tip
  • A serving of cheese—4 stacked dice
  • A cup of cereal—size of a fist
  • ½ cup cooked rice or mashed potatoes—1/2 of a baseball

And here’s the part that goes with the visualization—be sure to read labels on packaged foods and beverages so you’ll know how many servings are included.

Remember too, that your stomach is only about the size of two fists put together, so more food than this is too much.

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