Portions served in restaurants and in homes today are out of control.  Consider these comparisons to 20 years ago.

20 years ago an average bagel was 4” in diameter and 140 calories;  today an average bagel is 6” in diameter and 350 calories.


20 years ago a cheeseburger was around a reasonable 333 calories; the average cheeseburger today is averages 590 calories.  20 years ago an order of fries was a 2.4 ounce serving at 210 calories; today an regular serving of fries is 6.9-ounces and 610 calories.










20 years ago a spaghetti and meatball meal was ~1 cup of pasta with sauce and 3 meatballs at around 500 calories; today’s portion of spaghetti and meatballs is 2 cups of pasta with sauce and 3 large meatballs at 1,025 calories. 




Over the past 2 decades in our nation portions have doubled – in some cases tripled in size.  Sadly but understandably, the size of butts, guts, and health care costs for overweight related conditions/diseases have followed in line.




Consider these tips to fight portion distortion:


  •  Remember, the portion served does not have to be the portion consumed.  We don’t have to eat it all.  Take a good look at the portion of or food and enjoy as much as you need – not as much as you may want.
  • Slow down and key into your body when eating.  It takes about 20 minutes for the satiety signal to travel from the stomach to the brain.  Taking time allows us to realize when we are satisfied and stop before stuffed or full.  It also helps the enjoyment of the food.
  • Retrain your eyes, brain and stomach to appropriate portion sizes
    • Read labels – most grab and go items we consume as single serving items contain multiple servings.
    • Learn and use this visual comparison chart below to help with ‘eyeballing’ of portion sizes.  (Helpful when eating out).


    • When at home, consider measuring your food until your knowledge of and comfort with  a healthy portion grows.  I use measured serving spoons for rice and other starches – each time I dip a serving it’s ½ cup.  Likewise, I use measured bowls for items like breakfast cereal that I easily overeat.  
Measuring serving spoons.  Large is 1 cup, small is 1/2 cup
Bowls with measurement indicators.
  • Trick your eyes by using a smaller plate.  We eat with our eyes as well as our mouth.  A smaller healthy portion looks much more filling and satisfying on a small plate.
  •  Mean what you say when you pray.  For years, my grace before meals was a request for God to “bless the food I was about to receive for the nourishment of my body”.  Then depending on the day, meal or mood –  too often, I’d eat to the point of gluttony. Huh???  After asking God to bless the meal, being mindful that good stewardship includes my eating, helps me to do my part and stay reasonable during the meal.


References and images: National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, cleo.com.au

More at 6 Ways to Stop Overeating




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