Sunday, February 21, 2010


Portion Size Information:

I inherited some pretty dinner plates from my grandmother. They are very small compared to what we're used to eating from now, but I can remember our whole family eating from them when I was a girl. The modern dinner plates I have now are much bigger than these old dishes. After learning about portion sizes, my husband and I are now eating from these old plates!! Read on to find out how you can make healthy portions by just using smaller plates.

The size of our dinner plates was a major contributing factor of Americans becoming overweight. Here’s the way it works: the diameter of a typical American dinner plate is 11 inches; the diameter of a typical European dinner plate is 9 inches. The 2-inch difference amounts to the 11-inch plate having 50% more surface area than the 9-inch plate. If, like most people, you fill your plate, you’re putting 50% more food on it than a person with the 9-inch plate. This means we’re eating 50% more food, since we usually eat whatever is on our plates. Some restaurants even use 13-inch plates!

The average dinner plate today is 11 to 12 inches across. A few decades ago they measured a mere 7 to 9 inches. With this in mind, try using a salad plate when you dine at home. You’ll find your meal still looks adequate, even though it’s much smaller than before.

What One Serving of Grain Products Looks Like:
1 cup of cereal flakes = the size of a fist
1 pancake = a compact disc
½ cup of cooked rice, pasta, or potato = ½ of a baseball
1 slice of bread = a cassette tape

What One Serving of Fruits and Veggies Looks Like:
1 cup of salad greens = a baseball
1 medium fruit = a baseball
½ cup of raisins = a large egg

What One Serving of Dairy and Cheese Looks Like:
1 ½ oz. cheese = 4 stacked dice
½ cup of ice cream = ½ baseball
1 cup serving of milk, yogurt, or fresh greens = the size of a fist

What One Serving of Meats and Alternatives Looks Like:
3 oz. meat, fish, and poultry = Deck of cards
3 oz. grilled/baked fish = Checkbook
2 Tbsp. peanut butter = Ping pong ball

What One Serving of Fats Looks Like:
1 teaspoon of oil = the size of your thumb tip

Here are a few small changes in your mealtime that will make a big impact over time:
• Instead of taking serving bowls and platters of food to the table, dip out meal portions onto your family’s dinner plates using a measuring cup instead of a serving spoon. Leave the serving bowls and platters in the kitchen, that way there will be less of a temptation to go back for seconds.
• Pack up anything left on serving platters and bowls and store them in the fridge before you sit down to eat. Think to yourself and/or inform your family that the kitchen is now closed for business.
Mentally divide your plates into sections and portion out food like this: 1/2 fruit and vegetables; 1/4 lean protein; 1/4 whole grains
• Before eating your meals, drink a glass of water. Drinking water will help reduce your sensation of hunger and will leave you feeling fuller. It will also help aid digestion.
• Savor each bite. Put your fork down after each one. Drink a sip of water after swallowing each bite.
• Enjoy the company of your family and friends at dinner time. Do not mindlessly eat while watching television. You won’t be conscious of what’s going into your mouth. Besides, the food commercials are meant to make you feel hungry.

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