All about portions: How do you know what a reasonable portion size is? Let’s talk!
Today I’m talking about portion sizes. Portions distortion is a very real thing right now, especially if you eat out often. Restaurants typically serve 2-3 times an appropriate serving size in any given meal, which can really add up if you eat out even a few times a week. Even fast food portions have evolved into way too large of servings for one meal!
This is especially a problem when it comes to sugary drinks that have little nutritional value. They end up taking up a substantial amount of calories without providing you any important nutrients. Without protein, fiber, or even fat, your body will still feel hungry, even if you consumed 500 calories worth of soda! To help you get a grip on portions, I’m going to outline the serving size on a few common components in the American diet.
- Meat, Poultry, and Fish: 3-4 ounces
- Cooked Vegetables or Fruit: 1/2 cup
- Raw Fruit or Vegetables: 1 cup
- Starches (Rice, Pasta, Potatoes, etc): 1/2 cup
- Snack Foods (Pretzels, Chips, and Crackers): 3/4- 1 ounce
- Milk: 1 cup
- Yogurt: 2/3 cup
- Cheese: 1 ounce
- Peanut Butter and Salad Dressing: 2 tbsp
- Butter, mayonnaise and oils: 1 teaspoon
- Nuts: 1 ounce
You can also find the serving size on the label of packaged foods. Many times, snack foods and drinks contain more than one serving, so you may be eating more than you think! Always check the label for the serving size on packaged foods.
One way to help you keep portion sizes in check is to use your hand or other visual models. These charts can really help when you’re on the go and don’t have measuring cups handy.
So what if you’ve measured out all of your food at appropriate portions, but you’re still hungry? That’s okay! It’s perfectly normal to still be hungry when you’re trying to re-train your eyes, stomach and brain to know correct portion sizes. The key is to satisfy that hunger in a smart way. First, ask yourself if you’re actually hungry or just not satisfied with smaller portions. If you aren’t actually hungry, try eating more slowly next time and really taking the time to enjoy your food. You may find that you end up feeling more full and more satisfied with less food. We call this approach mindful eating. If you are actually still hungry, then go ahead and eat a little more!