Portion Control-3 Easy Ways to Cut Down Your Calories

Nutrition LabelWe are a society being weighed down (literally) by the bigger is better motto. It’s pretty hard to miss the enormous portions you are served at restaurants and even harder to say no to a “great value”. So when the powers that be use mass marketing to convince us that it’s a better value to get the large Coke with your meal or that you’ll actually save money if you add the fries, you think, hey, at least I got my moneys worth. You may want to start to think twice before saying yes the next time the check out girl asks you “do you want to super size it”?

Bigger portions mean we typically eat 30-50% more then we would have with smaller portions, hungry or not. In the last 2 decades, portion size has dramatically increased. According to the The Portion Teller, pizza pies were 10 inches in diameter back in the 1970s. Today the average size for a pizza is between 16 and 18 inches! Starbucks once offered the ”short” cup of coffee, at 8 ounces, but now the smallest cup you can order is the “tall”. At 12 ounces, this cup is nearly twice the size of what was once considered a regular cup of coffee. A Hershey chocolate bar weighed 0.6 ounces its first year on the market. The standard bar now weighs 1.6 ounces. That’s almost 3 times its original weight!

There are not many of us out there who order a meal out and ask the waiter, “Can you downsize my meal please”, something we should all consider doing more of.

Here are 3 easy suggestions to help you start downsizing today.

1) Ask for a to-go box- At the beginning of a meal out, ask for a to-go box, or even better bring your own, and pack up half your meal for lunch tomorrow.

2) Don’t snack mindlessly- Stop snacking straight from the container or package and certainly not standing over the kitchen sink. Putting a snack portion into a small bowl or on a plate will help you eat less.

3) Know what a portion really looks like- Measure out a serving of pasta or rice, typically a ½ cup cooked, or look at the size of your lean protein at dinner tonight, which should be the size of a deck of cards. Start to look at labels to get a better idea of what exactly a portion size should look like.

Photo Credit: DoctaBu at Flickr.com for Creative Commons

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