Is there a difference between a portion and a Serving?
The answer is yes. A “portion” is how much food you choose to eat at any time away from home – at a restaurant, from a package or from your home’s kitchen. It’s the amount of food you put on your plate. On the other hand, a “serving” is an amount of a food, such as a cup or an ounce, used in providing dietary guidance (recommendations) or making comparisons among similar foods (such as the description on food label). With that in mind servings and portions are not always the same.
To stay healthy and maintain your weight it’s good to know what sensible portion sizes looks like. Larger portions mean more calories and the extra calories are difficult to burn off. Below is a list of tips for you to use and to teach your children about the amount of food they are to eat and learn what a portion size is.
Food Labels reference to “one serving,” what does it mean?
- 1 slice of bread is one serving, therefore a sandwich made with two slices of bread are two servings of bread.
- ½ cup cooked rice or pasta
- 1 pancake (roughly the size of a CD
- 1 small piece of fruit (about the size of your fist) or ½ cup
- ½ cup fruit juice (most small bottle of juice have more than this, make sure to read the label)
- 1 cup of milk or yogurt
- 1 teaspoon of margarine (about the size of half your thumb)
- ½ cup of ice cream (about the size of a baseball)
- 2 ounces cheese (about the size of a small matchbox)
- 2-3 ounces meat, chicken or fish (about the size of a deck of cards)
How you can Control Portion Sizes on the Home Front:
- Select and use smaller plates. Using smaller plates make it look as though there is more food on the plates. It’s an illusion of telling your brain your getting more.
- Dish it out on a plate instead of eating from a container or a box. Put a handful of nuts or crackers in a 1-cup bowl or small plate instead of reaching into the box.
- Serve ice cream in a bowl instead of eating it out of the carton.
- Drink water as soon as you wake up in the morning and before eating your meals. The water will make you feel full and you wont be tempted to over-eat or eat as much.
- Chew your food thoroughly until it is almost smooth to swallow. The process of eating should take at least fifteen to twenty minutes before the stomach signifies the brain to recognize satiety (you’re full). Wait a few minutes before you go for a second helping. You might find that you no longer need that second helping.
- Keep it simple and prepare foods that have easy to see portions. You can buy single or individual portions to prevent guesswork.
Eating Out? How you can Control Portions
- You have the power to question your server to know what you are getting. Restaurant portions have gotten out of hand. Customers want to get good value for their money thus restaurants serve them more food on huge plates. Take stock at what you’re served and compare it to what you know to be a reasonable portion. A good example is pasta portions; restaurants serve several servings of pasta as one portion.
- Save a half when you get your meal. Ask for a box and physically divide the food into halves. Eat one half and place the other half in the box that can be used for the next day’s lunch.
- Forego the bread. If you have to have it take a piece and ask the waiter to remove the breadbasket from the table so you won’t be tempted to keep eating it before you meal arrives.
- Always ask for your salad dressings and sauces on the side so you can pour the amount for yourself.
- Skip the dessert or share it with your family or you could request a bowl of fresh fruit.