Portion Distortion

In the last 30 years, food portions have steadily grown, adding excess calories to the American diet and contributing to the obesity epidemic. Changes  in our food environment  have been called “obesogenic” because they support unhealthy habits instead of healthier ones.

Can you recognize how much portions have grown?  Take this portion distortion quiz, put together by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, to test your knowledge.

The good news is that even with all of these changes, YOU ARE STILL IN CONTROL of your food choices and portions! Read ahead to learn more about how you can eliminate portion distortion in your life.

Defining a Portion vs  Serving:

Portion: what you serve yourself

Serving: the recommended amount you should eat; found on a food label

It’s easy to over-serve ourselves when we are hungry.  However,giving ourselves more than we need leads to weight gain. Check the serving size on the nutrition label if you are unsure how much you should give yourself.

In general, healthy portions  are categorized by food group. The USDA created MyPlate as a simple way to judge if you are eating a balanced meal with appropriate portions.

my plate

Remember, when thinking about serving sizes: a grain serving is about 1/2 of a woman’s fist, a protein serving is about a deck of cards, a dairy serving is an 8 oz (school-lunch size) carton of milk, and fruit and vegetable servings are about the size of a baseball.

Tips for Cutting Portions When Eating Out

•Stop eating when you are full. Ask for a “doggy bag” to save leftovers for later.
•Ask for a doggy bag when you order and put half of your food in the doggy bag as soon as you are served.
•Try splitting a meal with a friend or family member.
•Try ordering a “kids” meal.
•Start your meal with a bowl of broth-based soup to help you from eating too much.
•When you know you’re going to a buffet, eat at your regular times to keep you from feeling starved and overeating. Avoid saving your calories for the meal.
•Drink water or eat a piece of fruit before you go to a buffet to keep you from overeating.
•At buffets, use a small plate that holds less food, instead of a platter or dinner plate.
•Order a plain small burger instead of a larger burger.
•Choose smaller sized muffins, bagels, croissants and biscuits. A jumbo muffin has more than twice the fat and calories.
muffin portions

3 thoughts on “Portion Distortion

  1. Pingback: Take Action: Nutrition Labels | Vital Days

  2. Pingback: Five Health Tips for 2015 | Healthy Helpings

  3. Pingback: Happy National Nutrition Month 2015! | Healthy Helpings

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