I was accused the other night of harping on food portions at dinner time. I took issue with this as I absolutely don't try to restrict the amount of foods my boys are eating. Thankfully, there is no need. They are all healthy and growing. If I have cooked a good dinner I am all for them getting second helpings! The more they eat the less I have to clean! Now, second helpings on ice cream and desserts might be another issue.
However, portion sizes have gotten to be a great topic of debate. It is pretty obvious that in this country the portion sizes of most foods and beverages have become larger, larger andlarger. Restaurant meals are noticeably larger than when I was a little girl, as are most things from a fountain drink at the gas station, (think Big Gulp) to a fast food hamburger. My children do not get this, and why should they? If these huge portions are all they have known, how would they know that typical portion sizes for food in America these days are just not typical!
Of course, the ramifications of constantly consuming too large sized portions, in a sense, overeating, is to gain weight. Large portions make you eat more. Large portions contain more calories. They encourage us to eat more and make us underestimate how much we have really eaten. It is "just one hamburger" you might say, when in reality you are eating what should be two hamburgers!
What do we do about this? How to deal with the portion size problem? The systen is so stacked against us! At home, the Husband and I often eat off of our salad plates. Using smaller cups is also good if you are drinking juices, iced teas and colas. Another thing I almost always do now is to order an appetizer or two rather than an entree when I eat out. Oftentimes, I can get the same food as an appetizer that I would have ordered, and am much happier not being stuffed, wasting food or spending the extra money. If the appetizer dish doesn't suit, we sometimes split the entree. You get the taste, a great meal, and the right portion size without the unnecessary calories.
One of the big money makers for the diet industry is to sell meals and snacks that are portion controlled. (100 calorie snacks) Are we really paying more to have someone else measure out our meals for us? Surely we need to take responsibility for our own eating habits. If think lots of us need to back track and learn to estimate the size of a porper portion and the amount of calories it contains. Servings are defined in definite amounts like cups, ounces, teaspoons, or other standard measurements. A serving does not mean a huge portion served at home or in a restaurant or that giant muffin from the bakery.
This brings me to this handy chart I have been saving to share. I think it's a great reminder of the portion size we should keep in mind when eating a meal or snack. I think I'm going to print it, cut it out and put it on the inside of my pantry door for a reminder! (My boys will really call me out as a nerd on this!)
Whether it sounds goofy or not it is a really good visual reminder that our portions have gotten out of control and only we can change that.