Thursday, March 11, 2010

Portion Reality Check

It’s no secret we’ve become a wasteful society. The way we eat is no exception. Some people tend to eat and eat until they are in agony, have to unfasten a button on their pants or just know they don’t dare take another bite. I’ve been guilty of all three at one time or another.

In today’s economy, we all want more for our buck. A trip to a buffet offers us the opportunity to get more for less money and experience any of the above-mentioned aftermaths. And at the end of the day, anything that wasn’t consumed gets tossed out. A mother of the 1950’s and 60’s would have been horrified at the thought.

Periodically I get stuff in the mail trying to sell me something. One of the repeat mails I get is from PREVENTION magazine by Rodale Publications. If you’re not familiar with them, they also publish Organic Gardening, Bicycling, Women’s Health, Runners World, Mountain Bike and Men’s Health. They know health.

One of the Tip sheets I recently received gave an inside look at how our conception of PORTIONS has changed over the past sixty years. Take a look:


1960 – 2 slices of bread + 1 slice of bologna = 380 cal.

2010 – 2 slices of hearty bread + 10 slices of deli turkey = 820 cal.


1960 – 2 oz. = 140 cal.

2010 – 4-6 oz. = 320-400 cal.


1960 – 1.5 oz. = 150 cal.

2010 – 5-6 oz. = 500-600 cal.


1960 – ½ C. = 150 cal.

2010 – 1.5 C. = 350 cal.


1960 – 6.5 oz. (remember those little coke bottles?) = 85 cal.

2010 – 24 oz. = 300 cal.


1960 – 2.4 oz. = 240 cal.

2010 – 6.2 oz. = 540 cal.


1960 – 4 oz. = 320 cal.

2010 – 12 oz. = 920 cal.

As you can see there is a BIG difference in our perception of what a serving size really is. But how do we know? I mean, isn’t what they serve us in a restaurant - a ‘serving’? Yeah! For at least two of you at the table.

How do we really know what a serving size is? I mean, we can’t cart the food scale with us everywhere we go. Actually, we do. It's our HAND. Here are some tips to keep in mind next time you are at home or eating out. The same visuals will apply.

A CLOSED FIST = 1 C or 1 serving of Carbohydrates

AN OPEN PALM = 1 serving of meat

TIP OF YOUR THUMB (between tip and first knuckle) = 1 tsp. fat.

If you want to make it look like you’re getting more for your portions, DOWNSIZE YOUR PLATE. Use a 9" plate instead of the traditional 11" plate. You’ll eat 18% fewer calories.

As a parting thought… if this makes you feel deprived, a recent study shows that drinking hot cocoa may lower your blood pressure. But you might want to make it sugar free. J

Enjoy the journey!

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