I stumbled on this a while back. The Portion Plate looks kind of like a kid’s plate with the illustrations on it, playing cards, a cassette a CD, a baseball, but it is for adults. The Portion Plate gives graphic demonstrations of how big a serving should be. I think it is a great idea in this world that bombards us with super-sized servings of everything and totally distorting idea of proper portion sizes. This group sees portion sizes as “contributing to the obesity epidemic and putting roughly one-third of Americans at risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and some cancers…”
Category Archives: portion size
I am still convinced that portion control is a key concept in controlling your weight. If you stick with these you can’t go far wrong.
I am convinced that portion control and serving size are the keys to controlling our weight and living a healthy (and long) life. Of course, we need to integrate regular exercise into the mix, too.
Also, must confess that I am an inveterate snacker. It was one of the reasons that I lost the battle of the bulge for so many years. Check out my Page – Snacking – the good, the bad and the ugly to read more on it.
Regarding the air-popped popcorn, I personally prefer regular popped corn using coconut oil. Just don’t go crazy on the quantity. Check out my post – How healthy is popcorn(?) for the details.
I posted on hummus a while back : Is hummus good for you?
Finally, check out Healthy snacking as an act of kindness.
Eat less; move more; live longer.
We really do have to use our heads when we decide to eat out. Some chains’ offerings make a joke out of our attempts at portion control.
One Chain’s Burger Platter Has Nearly 3,000 Calories and 10,000 Milligrams of Sodium
Perhaps you’ve eaten a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Picture having a second one. And a third. And then a fourth. Along with two medium orders of fries doused with a combined 18 packets of salt. For most people, that’s unthinkable. At Uno Pizzeria & Grill, it’s lunch: The chain’s Whole Hog Burger has hamburger, sausage, bacon, prosciutto, pepperoni, four types of cheese, garlic mayo, and pickles and comes with fries and onion rings. All told it’s more than a day’s worth of calories (2,850), three days’ worth of saturated fat (62 grams), and six days’ worth of sodium (9,790 milligrams).
That burger is just one of nine recipients of the 2016 Xtreme Eating Awards—conferred annually by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest and published in its Nutrition Action Healthletter. Far from doing their part to reverse the obesity epidemic, America’s chain restaurants are pouring gasoline on the fire, crossing fried chicken and waffles with Eggs Benedict, merging cheeseburgers and egg rolls, and repurposing macaroni and cheese as a sandwich filling. Continue reading
Unfortunately, our ‘bargain-hunting’ hard-wiring seeks out large portions in restaurants, in a vain quest for the ‘most for my money.’
You’ve heard of ‘win-win.’ Well this is ‘win-lose.’ Getting too much food can be costly to our health not to mention our waistline, despite appearing to be a financial bargain.
The more successful you are at finding an eating place with huge portions, the more difficulty you will have keeping control of your weight and waistline. We all need to rethink the situation. Pigging out at a low price doesn’t make our trip to dine out a success. We need to start thinking in terms of the nutritional quality of our food not just the quantity. Continue reading
Bigger is not better! The average restaurant meal is four — 4 — yes, FOUR — times larger than it was in the 1950s. The average adult is now 26 pounds heavier than 60 years ago.
The Centers for Disease Control has released this wonderful graphic on how portion sizes have gotten completely out of control.
As we say regularly here on the blog: Eat less; move more; live longer.
For more on Portion Control check out my Page – How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off.
One picture is worth a thousand words department. A look at how portion sizes have ballooned since the ’50s gives us a clue as to why 60 percent of us are overweight and 30 percent obese. Don’t let fast food portion sizes torpedo your weight control efforts. Eat less; move more.
The graph and proportions are dramatic. Make sure you notice how the figures on the bottom have also expanded.
In my weight control experience, portion control and serving size are key concepts. To read further on portion control and serving size, check out my Page – How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off.
I fought the battle of the bulge for decades with only small sporadic successes that were always followed by further weight gains. I like to eat and I really enjoy pizza, potato chips as well as ice cream and other fattening sweets. That’s why my problem wouldn’t go away. If it tasted good then I wanted to eat more and I often didn’t stop till the food ran out. Not a healthy practice!
Then I was lucky enough to get involved in writing this blog on diet, exercise and good health. What happened next was almost like magic. At the time, 2010, I had pared my weight down to 165 pounds from a high several years earlier of over 220. So, I considered myself to be a success, although probably only temporarily. But, writing the blog changed my perspective. I no longer thought of food as something just wonderful to consume with no further consequences. I became aware of portion control and serving size. I started paying attention to them. Previously, I had considered a serving of pasta, another of my favorites, to be a heaping plateful. Wrong. A cup of pasta amounts to 220 calories. And, that is without tomato or meat sauce.
When I say the change in perspective worked like magic, I mean just that. After several months of writing the blog, I found that my pants were sliding down around my diminishing waistline! I actually went to the doctor because I thought I must have cancer because the first thing they always ask is, “Have you experienced recent weight loss?”
It turned out that I was perfectly healthy. My body was just responding to my changed perspective of paying attention to what I ate and not simply overindulging because it tasted good.
That has been my actual experience. Today in late 2014, I weigh in the low 150 pound range where I have been for several years.
I truly believe it was the changed perspective toward food that accomplished in months what I had failed at for decades.
A friend recently emailed me a fun example of perspective that I want to share with you. It is a test for admission to an elementary school in Hong Kong. There is a series of numbers in a parking lot. You need to fill in the missing one. I confess I didn’t pass it. And, I hasten to add that I am good at math.
See how you do.
You are to answer in 20 seconds. I took way longer and still missed it. I will publish the answer tomorrow.
Regular readers know that I used to be overweight with a lot of bad eating habits. At my worst, I weighed over 220 pounds with a waistline exceeding 44 inches. You can read how I made my first big successful swipe at that problem in How I lost 50 pounds in 52 weeks.
The past nearly five years of writing this blog has raised my level of awareness into the stratosphere as far as weight control and healthy eating are concerned. But I always go back to the first principles of portion control and serving size. Tufts offers some super suggestions that will bolster your weight loss efforts going forward.
Below are a few tips to ensure that you’re eating the right portion amounts:
– Most restaurant portion sizes are at least double or triple the portion you should be eating. As soon as your meal arrives, cut it in half and box up the other half. Take it home to have for lunch the next day.
– Serve food on small plates. Instead of using a dinner plate, substitute a luncheon plate or a salad plate. - When eating at home, put a small portion of food on your plate, and keep the rest of the food in the kitchen. Then, if you want to eat more, you’ll have to get up to get it.
– Read food labels. When a package says that it contains more than one serving, measure out one serving into a separate dish. - Avoid eating in front of the TV or while reading. Instead, focus on the tastes, textures, and aromas of your food. This can keep you from mindlessly munching your way to the bottom of a bowl of popcorn or bag of chips.
– Listen to your body’s hunger cues. Pay attention to feelings of hunger and fullness.
This last point is excellent. Don’t eat for reasons other than hunger. A pint or Rocky Road ice cream will not solve your emotional turmoil.
For more information on the connection between the heart and brain, consider purchasing Heart-Brain Diet: Essential Nutrition for Healthy Longevity by Tufts Medical Report.
I have written further on portion control: A fresh look at portion control and portion distortion, How to Use Portion Control in Weight Loss and Maintenance, Get A Food Scale for Portion Control, Dining Out Portion Control Tricks from Weight Watchers, From “The Portion Teller.”
One of the secrets of super snacks under 100 calories is portion size. If you control the amount you are snacking on, you can enjoy just about anything. Moderation is key.
A great example of a super snack under 100 calories is watermelon. This is one of my favorite snacks and I have some almost every day. One serving of watermelon, 5.4 ounces, or one cup, yields 46 calories, no fat or cholesterol, one gram of fiber and also protein. Check out How Healthy is Watermelon for more on this super snack.
While snacking always keep portion control in mind. Don’t go nuts doing it. But wait, you can go nuts, just limit your quantities, Harvard offers the following: “Unsalted nuts and seeds make great snacks. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, cashews, hazelnuts, filberts, and other nuts and seeds contain many beneficial nutrients and are more likely to leave you feeling full (unlike chips or pretzels). Nuts have lots of calories, though, so keep portion sizes small.”
WebMD offers a great example of this: “When the munchies strike while you’re on the go, there are few things more convenient than nuts. You can eat 14 almonds without hitting the 100-calorie mark. Plus, they’re rich in fiber and protein, which help keep hunger at bay.”
Personally, I am a big fan of popcorn and often have it evenings watching movies. You can have several cups of popcorn popped with coconut oil and remain under 100 calories. Snacking tip: Eat one kernel at a time and consciously enjoy it. Your snack will last longer and you will appreciate it more. I found this out when I had some dental work done last winter. I asked the dentist if I could eat popcorn. He laughed and said I could if I ate one kernel at a time. I have been doing it ever since.
Roasted seaweed from Costco is another winner. I wrote about these a year ago February.
Roasted seaweed is subtle and delicious. It comes in delicate little sheets. I think it melts in your mouth. Costco sells it in packages of 17 grams. Nutritional breakdown: 100 calories. There are 300 mg of sodium which may be off putting to some. I don’t have a lot of sodium in my diet so I don’t mind.
WebMD has a nice collection of snacks under 100 calories that you can explore here.
Their first suggestion is 1/2 cup of slow-churned ice cream. “Surprise! Ice cream tops our list of low-calorie snacks. The key is to look for slow-churned or double-churned varieties. This refers to a process that reduces fat and calories while retaining the creamy texture of full-fat varieties, so 1/2 cup has just 100 calories. As a bonus, you’ll get some protein and calcium.”
Full disclosure: I am an inveterate snacker, so I have to really police myself in order to maintain my healthy weight. If you want to read further on snacking, check out my Page: Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
There used to be a wonderful set of slides available from the Dept. of Health and Human Services on how portions have become distorted over the past 20 years. Somehow they have evaporated from cyberspace.
I found a few of them on the web and thought I would share them with you.
The first is Spaghetti and Meatballs. Today we have 1025 calories in the form of two cups of pasta with sauce and three large meatballs. Two decades ago we were served one cup of spaghetti with sauce and three small meatballs. The difference is remarkable. The old way we got 500 calories for our meal. Nowadays it comes to 1,025 calories, or double what we used to get and half what we need to consume in our three meals.
The second example is the turkey sandwich. Currently we get a pile of turkey with all the trimmings served on a mini loaf of bread for 825 calories. Two decades ago we had several slices of turkey with trimmings served between two slices of bread for 325 calories.
The final example I found which is excellent, but was not a part of the original slide presentation shows two dinner plates. In 1963 we ate off of nine inch plates that held about 810 calories. Now we eat off of 12 inch dinner plates that hold 1870 calories.
Before you pooh-pooh this last example, try switching to smaller plates and servings and see what happens.
Studies indicate that people who eat off of smaller plates consume less calories. That’s what you want, isn’t it?
To read more about portion distortion check out the following recent posts: A fresh look at portion control and portion distortion and What are some excellent examples of portion control?
Yesterday I published what I consider to be one of the best examples of portion control that I have seen. As I have mentioned time and again, I am in my fourth year of success at controlling my weight and writing this blog. The major tool in that pursuit was the learning of portion control.
That’s why I thought this wonderful illustration which shows another way to look at portion control – through its distortion – would be helpful to you.
If you check out my Page – How to lose weight – and keep it off you will find further guidelines on protecting yourself for the attack of the calories on your weight and waistline.
Here is a super rundown from the American Diabetes Association on how portions have become distorted over the years.
Good luck in your New Year’s pursuit of weight control. I know you can do it.
I have stated repeatedly that the single most important element in my getting control of my weight was the concept of portion control. Once I realized how big a serving size actually was, my weight control efforts really got traction.
Here are some excellent examples of portion control that you can use at home or when eating out. As you can see, the examples also include calorie counts. This is truly one picture that is worth a thousand words.
Here is an example of how portion control and serving size helped me: I like pasta. I always thought a serving of pasta was a plate full of pasta. As you can see from the illustration above, a serving of pasta is about the size of your fist and yields 200 calories. A plate full of pasta is about four servings of pasta and amounts to 800 calories.
Spend some time reading it and learning it. You will get benefits every time you sit down at a table to eat.
This will likely be the final installment of the Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays series I started publishing October 28. Thanksgiving is just a few days away. But, I wanted to get one last post in on what I consider to be the most important concept in weight reduction and weight control – portion size. Size does matter.
In the nearly four years of blogging I have written a number of posts on portion control, most of which I will list at the end of this post. What follow immediately are a number of examples to give you some visual guidance to help with your portion control at the upcoming feast.
A serving of turkey totals three ounces. That much turkey stacks up to about the size of a deck of playing cards. A serving of white meat yields 132 calories. Dark meat yields 145 calories. White meat with no skin yields 119 calories.
On the subject of old Tom, consider this when administering gravy. A serving of gravy approximates 1/4 cup. That is about the size of a golf ball. Each of those golf ball sized servings adds 30 to 50 calories to your meal.
A single serving of potatoes is a half cup which is about the size of a tennis ball cut in half. That half tennis ball of potatoes will add around 150 calories to your total – without gravy.
On the other hand, veggies can cut way into your calorie total if you don’t smother them in gravy or cheese spread. Cooked cauliflower with an herbal flavoring adds only 15 calories to your meal. One serving is the size of a tennis ball. Steamed broccoli, another healthy veggie is only 30 calories per serving. If you stack up a lot of veggies on your plate and start eating those, you can help to satisfy your hunger and not load a lot of calories into your body.
For more on portion control check out the following posts:
How to use portion control
Eat less; move more; live longer. Those words are the mantra of this blog. I realize that they are also easier said than done especially at this time of year – holiday season.
We seem to be hard-wired to celebrate by eating. Maybe it goes back to the time we had to hunt for our food. When we managed to kill something edible that was reason for celebration and we did. We ate our fill because we didn’t know when our next meal would be. But, times have changed and a trip to a supermarket is enough to feed an entire family for a week. So there is no need to eat till we are bursting at any single meal or event.
The holidays are a particularly trying time. There are various family celebrations along with parties at friends and neighbors. Each is a special form of temptation that we have to deal with.
I think one of the most important concepts to keep in mind in the holiday season is that weight control is a lifetime job. You can’t do it one day and then forget about it, or worse, celebrate by binge-ing on sweets as soon as you lose a pound or two. You also cannot wreck your progress in one day any more than you can solve your weight problem in one day. Think of it as a long continuum. Most importantly, during the holidays, don’t get down on yourself and wallow in guilt because you overdid it on one occasion. The damage from that is much worse than just an extra pound or two. Guilt hurts your heart and makes a positive outlook more difficult.
If you carry the sense of continuum with you in the holiday season, it may help you to steer an even keel through these difficult seas. First, when you are at a party with ‘a spread,’ snack on the carrots instead of the chips. You can work on filling your belly that way and not jam in a bunch of empty calories. Second, if you do overindulge try to eat light the next day. Give your system a chance to reset and find normality. Remember the continuum. Strive for balance. Third, keep portion sizes in mind. You can enjoy the taste of something without eating a plate full of it.
Finally, keep active. Don’t let your exercise program slip. Two reasons: It will help you to burn excess calories and your body needs to work every day. Use it or lose it is the irrefutable law of the body.
I hope this helps you to enjoy the holidays a little more and feel a little less guilty about your eating.