Americans as a group simply eat too much. We have lost perspective. In the 1960s, Coca Cola was served in 16 ounce bottles and their advertising claimed that “one bottle serves a whole family.” Today, we buy 32 ounce “large-sized” drinks and then go back for a refill before leaving the restaurant.
20 years ago a coffee was about 8 ounces and contained 45 calories – and that was with a bit of milk and sugar. Today, a Grande Café Mocha at Starbucks is 16 ounces and contains 330 calories. Movie popcorn used to come in containers that held about 5 cups. Today, you buy it by the tub.
And our portion distortion follows us home too. When we dish up food for our family meals, we often load each person’s plate with far more than they need. Suggested portion sizes are listed on the back of most packaged food products, on the Nutrition Facts panel. They’re often listed in cups, tablespoons, or ounces.
To help you better control your portions, whether you’re eating at home or in a restaurant, here are some simple guidelines that compare serving sizes with common objects:
1 teaspoon = 1 quarter or 2 nickels
1 Tablespoon = A walnut or a 9 volt battery
1/4 Cup = 1 large egg or a golf ball
1/2 Cup = A light bulb or 1 cupped hand
1 Cup = The size of your fist or a baseball
1 ounce = Ounces are a little harder to measure, since different foods weigh different amounts. For many foods, including meat and vegetables though, a 3 ounces portion is about the size of a deck of playing cards.
Recommended portion sizes for different foods can vary widely, depending on the food’s density and calorie content. But, in many cases a recommended portion size is around 3-4 ounces, 3/4-1 cup, or 6-8 ounces. Be sure to check the recommended serving size for the particular food you’re interested in. A good source is WebMD. They have recommended serving sizes for most foods, and the size equivalents above will help. Keep these in mind the next time you’re in a restaurant or serve up dinner for your family.
Remember, healthy choices you make each day can transform your family for generations! What choices will you make today?
Do You Wish Your Kid’s Ate Better? Check out our FREE eBook at www.HealthyFamilyFuture.com. Many of the strategies in this book can be used by both children and adults.
You may also want to read: We Need a Plan to Combat Obesity, Being Healthy Doesn’t Have to Be Hard, Is Healthy Eating Becoming Chic?