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Tasty Tuesday by Anna Grindeland, RD, CD: Portion distortion

Anna Grindeland, RD, CD

If you are trying to eat healthier, keeping portions down can be a big challenge. It doesn’t help that many foods found at restaurants and grocery stores have nearly doubled in size in the last 20 years. 20 years ago, a small soda was 6.5 ounces—now a small is sometimes as much as 24 ounces!! That means the difference of almost 200 calories from your drink alone! The chart at right shows how common foods have grown to be bigger, and higher in calories.

How do you know you are eating the right amount of food?

  1. First, listen to your internal hunger cues. Ask yourself—are you really hungry, or just bored? Thirsty? Tired? Having regular times set aside for meals can help keep true hunger signals strong.
  2. Do not skip meals. It is much easier to make a poor portion decision when you are raging hungry! Make time for three meals in your day.
  3. Use the attached handy portion guide. Your hands can be the best tools to keep your portions in check.
  4. Use smaller plates. Try this: Measure one of your plates at home from side-to-side at the widest part. Is it more than 9 inches? Your plate may be making you over-eat. Try cutting plate size down to 9” to keep portions smaller and your tummy happy.

When eating out…

  1. Order an appetizer
  2. Split an entrée and share—OR take the other half home.
  3. Slow down! Put your fork down between each bite to give yourself time to enjoy every bite.
  4. Ask for fresh fruit, vegetables or side salad instead of French fries, chips, or hash browns.
  5. Ask for dressings, gravies, and sauces on the side.

Sources and additional reading:

  1. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/eat-right/portion-distortion.htm
  2. Image: https://www.aldi.us/en/grocery-home/healthy-living/dietitian-tips/portion-distortion/
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The information found in the Health Library is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor does it represent the views or position of WHMC. Readers should always consult with their healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, including for specific medical needs.