Size DOES Matter!

     Just as the media has distorted our view of an average healthy body type, the fast food industry has distorted our view of proper portion size. When we purchase a fountain drink we walk out with something that takes two hands to carry as opposed to the 8 ounces poured over heaps of ice in a paper cup I remember drinking from growing up. When we order a “sandwich” for lunch it isn’t served on a couple of slices of bread from a standard loaf. It’s served on 1/2 a foot long loaf, and that’s if we order the small.

These images are from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and are designed to show examples of how portion sizes have grown over the last 20 years. To view their entire slide show on “Portion Distortion” click on the picture above.

      With this “portion distortion” so frequently in front of us, do we even know what a healthy portion size of the foods we eat looks like? Below is a link to a fun little quiz from Prevention. Click on the picture below and play the game to see what you really know about proper portions. Watch out for the bonus round, those questions are tough. Even with “studying up” I missed a couple. Let me know how you do.

     We can use the size of common items as a reference for how much to eat. A serving of meat  should be roughly the size of a deck of cards and a piece of fruit the size of a tennis ball. A serving of veggies or should be about a cup, which is also about the size of a tennis ball. A proper sized serving of grains should be about the size of a hockey puck or half a tennis ball.  A proper dinner plate should be half filled with veggies and only 1/4 meat and 1/4 grain. Eating dried fruits or nuts? Just as much as would fit into a shot glass (a helping about the size of a golf ball) is enough. These comparisons to common items make it easier to remember proper portion sizes. It might take a while to memorize them all, so Prevention has handy charts that you can print and keep on the fridge or in your wallet for reference. Take a minute now to print yours out.

     Don’t let “portion distortion” interfere with your weight loss efforts. Learn to eat the foods you love in the proper amounts and weigh loss will come much more easily.

A neat little tool for gaging portions. Purchase yours at

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