When I was a youngster my family owned a restaurant for a period of time. That's when I first learned about portion control. Portion control is important in the restaurant business to maintain product consistency and costs.
That's as true today as it was back then. But today it seems that everyone feels that bigger is better. There's a mega-biggy everything, especially at the fast food places.
And when did the all you can eat buffet start? They didn't exist way back when. You just got to pig out at the buffet so you get your money's worth.
The bombardment of advertisements has given a lot of us a warped sense of exactly what a serving should be. Instead
of portion control we have portion "out" of control.
Just learning what a serving should be is a great first step for you if you're beginning a weight management program. Eating smaller portions of the same foods you've always been eating may be the best "baby step" to take in order to lose weight.
What Counts as a Serving?
Bread, Cereal, Rice & Pasta Group
1 slice bread
1/2 hamburger roll, bagel or English muffin
6-inch tortilla or 4-inch pancake
1/2 cup cooked rice, pasta, barley, bulgur
1/2 cup cooked oatmeal, grits
1 ounce ready-to-eat cereal
3-4 small crackers
1/2 cup chopped raw vegetables
1 cup leafy raw vegetables
1/2 cup cooked vegetables
1/2 cup cooked legumes (beans, peas, lentils)
3/4 cup vegetable juice
1 medium fruit (apple, orange, banana)
1/2 grapefruit, mango, papaya
3/4 cup juice
1/2 cup berries or cut-up fruit
1/2 cup canned, frozen, or cooked fruit
1/4 cup dried fruit
Milk, Yogurt & Cheese Group
1 cup milk
1 cup yogurt
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup dry milk
1 1/2 ounces natural cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
2 ounces processed cheese
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs & Nuts Group
one serving = 2-3 ounces cooked lean meat, poultry or fish
(4 ounces raw = 3 ounces cooked)
This is about the size of a deck of cards or an audio tape.
1 ounce meat = 1/2 cup cooked lentils, peas or dry beans; 1 egg; 2 tablespoons peanut butter; 1/3 cup nuts; or 4 ounces
All of the above serving sizes are for reference. You might not actually eat only 3 ounces of meat at a meal. But if you eat six ounces you know you've had two servings.
If you would like to get started on your own portion control program it would be a good idea to actually measure or weigh
foods initially. After a while you'll be a good enough judge of servings that you can just "eyeball".