Food Friday: Portion Distortion – The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans LLC


(Psst! Welcome to our new Fridays. We’re now alternating Focus on Fitness and Food Friday! Okay, carry on…)

For me, and I’d bet for a lot of you out there, weight loss success or failure is directly linked to portion control. Yes, exercise is most definitely important and necessary, and also the KINDS of foods you eat make a difference. But really, if you eat a plate of pasta the size of your head every night, it kind of zeroes out that five mile run or Zumba class…am I right or am I right (I’m right).

First of all, it is helpful to define ‘portion’ and serving. A ‘serving’ is the amount of food or drink, as determined by the FDA, that is necessary to add up to your daily recommended intake. A ‘portion’ is what you choose to eat in one sitting. Unfortunately, even though those two terms should align, they very rarely do.  For instance, if you buy a bottle of soda and look at the nutrition information on the side, it may say 12o calories per serving.  But there are two servings in the bottle…so, do you drink only half the bottle? Or do you drink the entire thing?

Portion control is a tricky bugger, honestly speaking. The portions we receive in restaurants are huge.  We’re brought up to appreciate quantity. We want our money’s worth. And visually speaking? It can be difficult to eyeball a proper portion size.

Today? I’m going to give you a quick refresher course on portion control. And? Give you a few fun ideas to help keep your portion sizes in check!

Okay, down to business. Here’s a quick list of visual checks you can use when you’re doling out your food:

Meat or chicken = deck of cards

One cup of rice or pasta = tennis ball or woman’s fist

One ounce of cheese = domino

Medium piece of fruit = baseball

One teaspoons of butter = one die (you know, singular for DICE)

Two Tablespoons of peanut butter = golf ball

Or, you can do it all on your hands. Literally:

{courtesy of Prevention Magazine}

What else can you do to watch your portions? Make sure you read your labels. Weigh your food. Yes, weigh it. On a kitchen scale. I hear you, it can be arduous, but there is no more accurate way to control your intake. You just can’t trust your eyeballs. After weighing your food for a while, you will become more able to visually identify the proper portion. I promise.

Now, to some fun stuff.

Portion control AND fun in the same sentence. Yes, it’s true!

A few months back, I received a bento lunch box from Laptop Lunches to try out, and can I just tell you how much I love it? And my kid too – we fight over it.  Why is it so great? It’s got little dishes enclosed in a cute case (there’s even a fork and spoon!) that allows you to pack healthful and portion controlled lunches! To top it all off, it’s very eco-friendly – no more paper lunch bags! Plus? It’s super cute:

There are a multitude of portion control products out there…portion control plates and dishes.  Another option is to just go out and buy smaller plates! It’s true, you’ll fool your eye and eat less if you use smaller dinner plates, rather than those mammoth ones most of us have in our cupboards.

Portion control – yes, it can be a pain, but really, truly is the key to getting to and maintaining your goal weight!

Do you practice portion control? Any fun tricks or ideas? Please, share in the comments!