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A Touch of Wellbeing
A Wellness Blog for Busy People

Portion Sizes – OMG Have They Grown!

It is amazing how portion sizes have grown over the past 20 years. For more information on this growth, click here or below, scroll down about half way to Portions & Servings and click on the second handout, "Portion Size Matters". It is unbelievable!

Lifestyle changes are hard to make. Just try making a couple changes a week. A great place to start is to decide to eat smaller portions, or should we say correct portions. The correct serving size for most foods is about 1/2 cup (the size of a tennis ball or a woman’s handful). There are few foods with a correct portion size of 1 cup (the size of a baseball, or a woman’s fist). Yep! Hard to believe. We live in a super-size world here in America. It is also called portion distortion. The bigger, the better. Our idea of a portion is way over correct serving sizes.

I believe restaurants have contributed greatly to this idea of portion distortion. We eat out a great deal more than say 20 years ago. So why do so many restaurants and eateries serve large portions? Because it is extremely profitable. Let me explain.

The cost of a correct serving of food includes a ratio of all the fixed costs of the establishment, i.e., rent, utilities, labor, base food cost, plus profit. For just a few cents more they can super-size the portion. But they don’t add a few cents to the price, they add on about 50-75 cents, most of which becomes PROFIT! Super-sizing was an ingenious idea to increase profits, which is hard to do in the food industry.

Another interesting fact is the research that has been done on portions and perceived satisfaction. The studies compare the perceived satisfaction with larger versus smaller portions of food. Turns out we are just as “satisfied” with a smaller portion as we are with larger portions. And, no matter the portion, most people eat the whole portion. That is why obesity is related to dining out. Additionally, we often go to the restaurant overly hungry.

So start noticing your portion sizes. Are they correct or super-size? But remember to be able to eat smaller portions, you need to be eating 5-6 times per day, i.e., 3 small meals and 2-3 balanced snacks. Decide that you can eat smaller portions; and with a little practice, you will get better at it.

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