Don’t Supersize Me

Have you ever measured out a serving of ice cream? It is equivalent to one half cup. It came as quite a shock to me when I read the label on the carton to discover that I was eating enough servings for at least 4 people.

My portion size, what I chose to eat, was considerably larger than the actual serving size which is the recommended amount for a specific food–in this case, ice cream. Big scary difference…

Serving size, along with a high quality diet and exercise, is an important part of the holy trinity of good health. The three work together to keep our weight in check and our bodies healthy. Portions need to scaled down to avoid overeating and weight gain.

WedMD has an easy to understand, printable guide to help us visual learners put it all in perspective. Serving sizes for various foods are compared to actual objects. For example, a serving of chicken would be about the size of a deck of cards.

TIP: Gather up as many of the objects as possible to keep in a basket in your kitchen to teach your kids (and yourself!) how to estimate serving size as you prepare and serve meals.

Once you have a handle on estimating serving sizes, you can compare them to the portions you consume and adjust amounts as needed.

So, enjoy your food. Just less of it! Here are three ways to do that at meal times…

1   Use smaller plates. The truth of the matter is that plate sizes have expanded in diameter over the years. According to Nutrition Diva, Monica Reinegl, the ever growing size of our dinner plates correlates almost exactly with rates of obesity. And for most of us, if it’s on our plate, we’ll eat it!

2   Don’t go back for seconds. Take what you need the first time around. Wait at least 10 minutes before you decide you absolutely have to have more. Chances are your brain will have received the message from your stomach that it’s had enough…

3   Alright, this tip is an extension of Tip 2. If you don’t already do it, try mealtime conversation. No t.v., no texting or taking phone calls. No reading either (yes, it’s a good habit but not at the table). It’s a great way to mindfully enjoy food, connect meaningfully with family members, and slow down to give yourself time to recognize that yes, you are full. It works–and it’s fun too.

For the kiddos, things are a bit different. Smaller helpings work well to help teach them to recognize when they are full, but if they’re still hungry, they can ask for more…

So, careful with those servings.  Especially with ice cream.  But in the case of vegetables (I’m such a nag)….More is better!


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