Portion Distortion

Ever heard of portion distortion? This is when over-sized portions of food start to look normal to you. The result is that people will eat whatever is on their plate without thinking about the number of serving sizes that are actually in front of them. Portion sizes that once would have been considered far too big to eat in one sitting, are now seen as normal, no thanks to restaurant supersize me options. From store-bought muffins, to soft drinks and pasta entrées at restaurants, portion sizes have increased over the last 20 years. Bigger portions mean more calories, and the result is bigger waistlines and an obesity epidemic.

Know the difference between a serving and a portion. A portion size is the amount of food that you actually put on your plate and plan to eat in one sitting. A serving size is a reference amount of food as defined by Health Canada. If you eat a sandwich with two pieces of bread (one portion), you’re actually eating two servings of grain products since each slice of bread is one serving, according to the Food Guide.

Here are some helpful hints for measuring 1 serving size: Palm of your hand, cell phone, or deck of cards to eyeball meat, fish or poultry (approx. 3 oz.), computer mouse to measure rice, pasta, cereal or medium Potato (approx. ½ cup), 4 marbles, Ping-Pong ball or two thumb tips for cheese (approx. 1 oz.), 1 checker for peanut butter, salad dressing, mayo, 1 thumb tip for oil or butter (1 tsp.) and pancakes should be made to the size of a compact disc.

Measure your foods for about a week so you become better acquainted of what a true serving size really is. Journalling your food intake can also be extremely helpful in monitoring your food intake amounts.  If you bite it, write it!

Susan Arruda