Portion Size: Not for the faint of heart

So, the only portions you have been morselling out have been for your kids. You diligently make sure your little ones get their 5-a-days, counting the florets of broccoli and slices of fruit you put on their plate, not forgetting to supply them with their portion of milk and juice, and pulling the reigns when it comes to their sugar intake. But did you ever stop to think about what kind of portions you were supplying yourself? The tables turn when it gets personal, doesn’t it?

We give ourselves the same leniency we give to our children when they ask for a cookie before dinner. Then we go on to clear ourselves for that second helping at dinner, and then finally squeezing in that “little snack” before bedtime.
Sometimes the knowledge of good nutrition that we do have goes out the window when life doesn’t allow for proper eating schedules. But with a little juggling, balancing of your food budget if you will, you can make all the difference in the world. It’s not about starving yourself, it’s not about giving up what you love, it’s all about portion size.

Per serving

Portions should be dealt according to the “per serving” amount labeled on every processed food box, canned food, frozen food, milk carton, you get the picture. Get the concept of “helping size” and “scoop size” out of your eating vocabulary and start looking at the “per serving” size. Don’t be afraid to pull out your measuring cups at meal times when portioning out serving sizes.

Portion size
Any idea of what you should be portioning out?

Protein should be dealt in 4 oz. servings, that’s the size of your fist, for chicken, beef, fish, lamb, whatever.

Don’t eat meat? Then protein means 1/2 cup of beans, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, or 1 egg.

Carbs are best measured in 1/2 cup servings, (I especially cringe at stopping here because pasta is at the top of my “Fav” list). Same serving size goes for rice and beans.

Starches are easy to remember cause they are measured in ones: 1 slice of bread, 1 small potato and so forth.

As far as fresh fruits and veggies go, I do not limit them because I know it’s hard to meet those 5 a day requirements. I do work to add fruits and vegetables to my meals, replacing processed foods like fettuccine alfredo and fast food french fries with steamed veggies as part of my Give-and-Take method, discussed my blog: Give and Take: A Healthy Relationship. Be cautious about the sugar content in dried and canned fruit which can add to your calories.


Sugar can easily be managed by getting no-sugar-added applesauce, for example, and limiting yourself to 2 tablespoons of dried fruit. As a side note, those sodas you like to wash your meals down with have calories also and can easily total meals themselves.

Sneaky Calories

And just because you have a salad for lunch doesn’t mean you are minding your ‘P’s’ and ‘Q’s’: make sure you limit the amount of the extra calories, they can add up quickly; salad dressing, sauces, dips–they all adds to your calorie count!
If you make an effort you can portion your way to a lower weight. You can find the calorie count for any food all over the Internet and recipes that will break down the serving size and in addition show you the nutritional stats, such as sodium intake, fat grams, and amount of cholesterol to name a few. As crazy at it sounds, the less you eat at every little meal, the more you can eat. It’s about making the right choices about what and how much you eat. Starting to make sense? I am pretty sure this is how all those diet systems work- when you control your portions, you control your weight.
So you don’t have to give up your favorite meals and you definitely need not starve yourself to be more conscious about losing weight. If you take heed to portioning your sizes of everything you put on your plate then you limit the amount of calories taken in and can be well on your way to losing those extra lingering pounds once and for all!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Why everything in moderation is harder than it looks « Have your cake and eat it too!
  2. Trackback: 5 ways to stay on top of your game « Have your cake and eat it too!

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