Nutrition for real world fat loss

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Serving Sizes vs. Portion SizesServing size and portion size are the same thing, right?
WRONG!There is a big difference between the definition of serving size and portion size, but too often we don’t pay attention to this. Most people don’t even realize there is difference between the two terms!What Is The Difference?

  • Portion Size is the amount of a single food item offered in the packaging of prepared foods, the amount given to you at restaurants, or the amount a person chooses to put on his or her plate.
  • A Serving Size is a standard unit of measurement usually in cups or ounces, as recommended by the USDA.

Most of the time, the portions we eat are much larger than standard serving sizes, a problem called, “Portion Distortion.”  Portions at restaurants, at home, what you buy at the store are much larger than they ever used to be, and many times people aren’t paying attention to the growing sizes. Some portions actually have 2, 3 or more servings!

What Are the Serving Sizes?
The following is the list of serving sizes for the different food groups.

    • 1 serving of meat= 3 oz (about the size of a deck of cards)
    • 1 serving of fruit= 1 cup fresh fruit (the size of a tennis ball)
    • 1 serving of veggies= 1 cup fresh, or ½ cup cooked vegetables
    • 1 serving grains= 1 piece of bread, 1 pancake, ½ bagel, ½ cup rice/pasta/ or cereal
    • 1 serving of dairy= 1 cup milk or yogurt, 1 oz cheese (about the size of 3 dice)

Why Is This Important?

  • When dining out and eating at home, portion sizes are often larger than recommended serving sizes.
  • Studies show that when faced with a larger portion of food, people tend to consume more calories, fat, and sodium.
  • Consuming more calories can lead to weight gain and obesity!
  • Serving sizes, not portion sizes, are how calories, protein, fat and nutrients are measured. You need to know how many servings you are having of foods to watch your waistline, your cholesterol, etc.

How can you watch your portion sizes?

  • Order smaller portions at restaurants. Appetizers can make a great meal because they are usually smaller servings. Split larger entrees with a friend or split half to go.
  • Eat your meals on smaller plates and use smaller cups. The smaller your plate and cup, the smaller your portion. You also won’t be tempted to fill your larger plate with unneeded, extra food.
  • Don’t eat out of the bag. Divide contents of large packages (chips, cookies, etc) into smaller single serving size portions to avoid over eating. Pre-portion your snacks at the beginning of the week that you will take with you to work or school.
  • Eat before you go out. Have an apple, cup of veggies, hard boiled egg, or low fat cheese stick to hold you over. This way when you arrive to a party or event, you won’t feel the need to eat the first unhealthy thing you see.
  • Eat slowly. It takes your brain a few minutes to get the message that your stomach is full.
  • Don’t eat while distracted. Eating while watching TV, driving, or on the computer may lead to overeating.

While portions continue to grow beyond your control, what you need to do is learn the proper serving sizes so you can make better food choices. Don’t let large portions hold you back from losing weight.

To get more nutrition tips, tools, resources to help you burn fat and lose weight, sign up for the 8 week nutrition class beginning on January 25th!

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