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Healthy Weight Center > Recipes > Portion Size: 1 | 2

Portion Sizes

Paying attention to serving sizes can be your best ally in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight for life. FoodFit nutritionist Eileen Peterson talks about how ballooning portions have affected the national waistline and offers advice on how to get the serving size right whether you're eating at home or dining out.

FOODFIT:   Do you think that bigger portions alone are to blame for the obesity epidemic in the United States?



"Super-sized" portions are one of the three major contributors, along with increased consumption of food prepared outside the home and more sedentary lifestyles.

Large portions throw off our reasonable attempts to eat right. When we see a full plate in front of us, we often consume beyond our physical need for fueling our bodies and also try to feed our emotions. Food is comforting and abundant and, for many, it's akin to a drug, providing short-term gratification. Whenever it's easy to get more of something, many often tend to overdo.

FOODFIT:   So how do you know what a serving size is?



Portions are standardized by the USDA and can be found in any reputable calorie/fat counter book. However, actual portions served in restaurants—and what many of us are accustomed to—rarely follow the standard portion size. For example, steak houses that bill their "36-ounce prime rib special" are advertising a piece of meat about 12 times the recommended size!

My advice is to actually measure foods at home for a while so you can teach yourself exactly what a cup of pasta, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and 1 teaspoon of olive oil actually look like on the plate or in the pan.

It's funny, we tend to underestimate the portions we eat of most foods, but when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables, we overestimate the small amounts we actually consume.

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