Overcoming Portion Distortion

Portion Size Matters

I frequently find that I am recommending that patients limit the size of their portions when eating meals. “Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.” This quote, which I think we have all heard, is very true when applied with eating. Portion size matters, whether it’s French fries, cake or something healthier like fruit. Losing weight can be difficult when you don’t know how much to eat. Portion distortion can be blamed for a large portion (ha – no pun intended!) of this problem, but I have some tips to help you determine healthy serving sizes.

Portion sizes have increased at home and at restaurants for nearly every food category since the 1970s. Food and beverage manufacturers are packaging their products in sizes five times more than when they were first introduced. The portions for many of these foods now exceed federal recommended standards by as much as eight times. This increase in portion sizes has created an increase in our waistlines and body weight contributing to the obesity epidemic.

What do “portion distortion” and “portion control” actually mean?

Portion Distortion – growing portion sizes have changed the perspective of “normal” portion. Portion Control – knowing the correct amount of food or drink
Portion – amount of food or drink a person decides to eat or drink at one time. Serving – measured amount of food or drink
A single portion of food can contain multiple servings.

Portion Control Tips for Dining at Home:

• Make balanced meals by including 1/4 your plate protein, 1/4 your plate carbohydrate and 1/2 your plate low-carb vegetables
• Store leftovers in single-serve containers so when you eat them they’re already portioned and you’re less likely to overeat
• Serve yourself and then put food away so you’re not tempted to go back for seconds

Portion Control Tips for Eating Out:
• Order balanced meals (see above) – may need to order items a la cart
• Order half portions – restaurants typically serve meals that are large enough for 2-3 meals
• Box half before eating
• Split dish with a friend
• Order healthy appetizer or soup and salad in place of an entree
• Avoid buffets and “all-you-can-eat” deals – bargain doesn’t mean value

Portion Control Tips for Snacking:
• Purchasing foods in single-serving sizes (chips, pretzels, popcorn, nuts, cheese sticks, cottage cheese, yogurt)
• Portion out foods that aren’t in single-serving sizes using snack bags or small containers
• Never eat out of large bag or carton

So remember, you can overcome portion distortion by having balanced meals, sharing half your meal when eating out and purchasing snacks in single-serving sizes. Try this Bacon, Avocado & Tomato Egg Mug recipe to get your mornings started off right – The portion controlled way!

Bacon, Avocado and Tomato Egg Mug
Serves 1
• 2 eggs
• 1 slice bacon, cooked and crumbled
• 1/3 cup chopped tomatoes, excess moisture removed
• 1/4 avocado, diced
• 2 Tbsp salsa
1. Spray a large microwave-safe mug or bowl with nonstick spray. Add eggs and microwave for 1 minute.
2. Gently stir. Add bacon and tomatoes. Microwave until scramble is just set, about 1 minute.
3. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with avocado and salsa.
Nutrition Information:
Calories: 271 Carbs: 8g
Fiber: 4g Protein: 18g

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