It seems every culture celebrates with food. If we haven’t seen a long lost friend for a while the first thing we do is head out to our local restaurant and celebrate with huge portions of food. That especially holds true for Texas. If your restaurateur brought you the suggested protein portion of 3 oz. (about the size of your palm) you would be sure to remind him that you are a paying customer and want what you are paying for, a Texas size cut of meat.
How many of you remember how big a small serving of movie theater popcorn used to be? Was it as large as it is today? How about the average serving of French fries in your favorite restaurant?
The average portion size of foods in our favorite restaurants is growing at an enormous rate, providing more calories than ever before. Consequently, our idea of portion sizes gets distorted, and we think that we need to consume more food than we actually do. These increased portion sizes are forcing us to create another notch in our belt loops, and they are adding to our current obesity epidemic as well as increasing the risk for related complications like diabetes and heart disease.
If measuring and comparing seems difficult why not share a plate of food? Next time you go out to eat with your friends, family, or even a date (romantic?) try to agree on ordering the same thing and share your plate. Most restaurants will gladly bring you an extra plate. Some restaurants will divide the portion into two servings before bringing it to the table. On occasion there may be a small charge, but your waist line will thank you. If you don’t have someone to share with ask your server to box half of your order before bringing you your food. Now you have lunch for the next day. You might even think about ordering from the children’s menu. Be sure to let the server know that you are on a special diet and your portion sizes need to be smaller. They will usually accommodate your request. If you are dining at night be sure to ask if you can get the lunch portion. Lunch portions tend to be smaller and will save you a few dollars as well.
It’s easier to recognize proper portion size if you can compare the food to something you know.
Recommended Portion Size (by MyPyramid.gov)
3 oz. meat – about the size of a deck of cards: the recommended portion for a meal
½ cup pasta – about the size of a tennis ball
1 oz bagel – about the size of a hockey puck
2.4 oz French fries, approximately 20 shoestring fries
Average Restaurant Portion Size
14 oz. meat – approximately 5 times the recommended amount
Approximately 3 cups pasta – 6 times the recommended amount
4 oz bagel – 4 times the recommended amount
6.9 oz French fries, approximately 50 shoestring fries
Here are a few more examples that may come in handy:
1 oz. cheese – size of 4 dice
2 Tbs. peanut butter – size of a ping pong ball
Medium apple or orange – about the size of a tennis ball
1 cup chopped raw vegetables or fruit – size of a baseball
1/4 cup dried fruit – a small handful
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Eat Right to Meet Your Goals
Want to lose weight? Build muscle? Maintain your workout results?
The Portion Fix Eating Plan will show you step-by-step what to eat and how much. You will fill your containers multiple times a day depending on your starting point and goals, so you’ll never eat too much (or too little). You’ll even learn how to incorporate dessert and wine into your lifestyle – the right way – so you get the best results without giving up the foods you love!
In the end keep an eye on your portion sizes, find someone you enjoy spending time with, share a meal and look forward to keeping your waistline in check.