Why Portion Size Matters!

By Taylor Ellingson, RDN, LD

All foods can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle, but how can that be? Portions, portions, portions!

Research has shown that when larger portioned meals are presented to someone, they’re more likely to overindulge.1 Soon this can turn into an unhealthy habit, leading to weight gain and feeling overstuffed.

Portion control and the types of foods you include in your daily eating habits can make a huge difference when trying to lose weight.

What Is Portion Size?

Portions are different for all food groups—some smaller and some larger. A portion is the amount of food you’re putting onto your plate, whereas a serving size is the exact amount of food that’s listed on the nutrition label.1

To ensure you’re eating the correct portion sizes, weighing protein and measuring out veggies, fruit, dairy, or grains is a great tool for accuracy. Those moments when you’re dining out or at a special event, you most likely won’t have those tools available. So, what do you do?

Livea’s Guide for Portion Size Visualization

Using visual aids can help resemble what a portion should look like.2

  • 1 baseball = 1 cup (ex: leafy greens)
  • 2 poker chips = 2 tablespoon (ex: salad dressing)
  • 1 deck of cards = 3 oz (ex: protein)
  • 1 domino = 1 oz (ex: cheese)
  • 1 dice = 1 teaspoon (ex: healthy fat)
  • 1 light bulb = ½ cup (ex: vegetables)

Tips to Keep Portion Control in Your Control 3

Have you ever noticed that over the years restaurants and fast-food chains are slowly enlarging their plates, cups, and meals?

I encourage you to Google, “McDonalds serving sizes over the years” and reflect on what you see. Portion distortion can easily happen without you even realizing it. This is why measuring and weighing foods will lead you towards weight-loss success.

Portion Control In Real Life

Dining at your favorite restaurant! No worries, try these helpful tips the next time you’re out.

  • Take control and split your meal with a friend
  • Ask for a to-go box and place ½ your meal in there before you begin eating

Attending a holiday party? Try these simple yet effective tips:

  • Be the last person to fill your plate to avoid overindulging
  • Fill your plate with vegetables and protein first. Next, complete your plate with other food groups.
  • Serve and plate your meals in the kitchen vs. at the dinner table to avoid 2nd or 3rd servings
  • Portion out your snacks into a bowl vs. eating out of the bag, box, container, etc.

More Tips for Keeping Portion Size In Check!

  • Small, frequent meals/snacks can keep your blood sugars steady avoiding rapid drops that lead to increased hunger levels
  • Using smaller plates can be more appealing to the eye—as it seems like you’re eating more than what’s presented
  • Eating with smaller utensils can slow down your eating behaviors, too. Did you know it takes 30 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that you’re full? Pace yourself and allow time for your body to recognize it’s full.
  • Put the tempting foods away—out of sight, out of mind.

Practice Portion Size Regularly

We hope using these visual aids will assist you in all social eating situations. You may also consider investing in a food scale to properly portion out your food. This makes it much easier to track food and take back control of your healthy eating habits.

For more lifestyle tips, recipes, and at-home exercises, browse our website and blog page to stay connected as you continue your weight-loss journey.