What is a Portion?
A portion is how much food you choose to eat.
What is a Serving?
A serving is a standard amount set by the U.S. Government, or sometimes by others for recipes, cookbooks, or diet plans. Understanding the serving size on the Nutrition Facts label is important for controlling portions. When the servings go up, so do the calories, fat, sugar, and salt.
Tips to Estimate Portion Sizes
- A deck of playing cards = one serving (three ounces) of meat, poultry, or fish
- Half a baseball = one serving (one-half cup) of fruit, vegetables, pasta, or rice.
- Your thumb = one serving (one ounce) of cheese.
- A small hand holding a tennis ball = one serving (one cup) of yogurt or chopped fresh greens
Tips to Control Portions
- Take a standard serving out of the package and eat it off a plate instead of eating straight out of a large box or bag.
- Get a doggie bag for half of your meal.
- Avoid eating in front of the TV or while busy with other activities. Pay attention to what you are eating and fully enjoy the smell and taste of your foods.
- Split a meal or dessert with a friend at a restaurant.
- Eat slowly so your brain can get the message that your stomach is full.
- Ask for salad dressing, butter, and sauces on the side so you can control how much you use.
- Take seconds of vegetables or salads instead of higher-fat, higher-calorie parts of a meal such as meats or desserts.
- When cooking in large batches, freeze food that you will not serve right away. This way, you won't be tempted to finish eating the whole batch before the food goes bad. And you'll have ready-made food for another day. Freeze in single-meal-sized containers.
- Try to eat three sensible meals at regular times throughout the day. Skipping meals may lead you to eat larger portions of high-calorie, high-fat foods at your next meal or snack.
- Eat breakfast every day.
- Keep snacking to a minimum. Eating many snacks throughout the day may lead to weight gain.
- When you do have a treat like chips, cookies, or ice cream, eat only one serving, eat it slowly, and enjoy it!
- Get in the habit of having one helping.
Portion Control Dishes
Bowls, plates and cups specifically designed to help you be more aware of your portion sizes can help you loose weight. Some dishes offer have subtle colorful graphics that let you measure perfect portions directly in the bowl or glass.