The Great Plate Debate: Portion Control
Watch your portion sizes! The amount you eat or drink plays a big role in your stay-healthy plan. You've likely heard the term "portion distortion." Over the past 20 years, average portion sizes have grown — just try ordering a small portion in a restaurant today. Often the plate comes with enough food on it for two or even three people.
These growing portions are changing what we think of as a "normal" serving, and that can affect how much we eat at home and in restaurants. Cutting back is a great way to help keep calories in check.
An exercise in portion control
A good way to see how big your portions really are is to measure the size of bowls, glasses, cups and plates you often use and filling them as you normally do with food or drink. Then, measure your portions with a measuring cup to see just how much you are used to eating. As you start to cut your portion sizes, try using smaller plates or glasses. They will still appear full. This can help you choose sensible portions.
Still aren't sure how much portion sizes have changed?
How much food do we really need compared to the portions we often eat? Check out these examples:
|20 Years Ago|
|Spaghetti with meatballs||1 cup sauce, three small meatballs||500|
|Blueberry muffin||1.5 ounces||210|
|Spaghetti with meatballs||2 cups sauce, three large meatballs||1,020|
|Blueberry muffin||5 ounces||500|
Learn more about portion control at the USDA's Choose My Plate website and take their Portion Distortion! interactive quiz . If you keep portion sizes reasonable, it's possible to eat the foods you want—and stay healthy!