Family Living Focus: Serving and portion sizes

From Gail Gilman

Family Life Consultant, M.Ed., C.F.C.S. and Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota

Don’t let your eyes get bigger than your stomach! Watching how much you eat can help you maintain a healthy weight. A “serving” is how much of each type of food you should eat to meet recommended daily nutrition requirements. A “portion” is how much of a single food is actually on your dish. The amount can vary from meal to meal.

When eating your daily meals:

• Stop eating when you are satisfied, not full. If there’s still food on your plate, save it for another time.

• Use a smaller plate, bowl, or glass to help you eat and drink less.

• Order an item from the menu instead of heading for the “all-you-can-eat” buffet.

• Skip the “super sizes.”

• Share a restaurant entrée with a friend or eat just half and take home the rest.

• Read What’s on Your Plate?, the National Institute on Aging guide to healthy eating.

• Visit www.choosemyplate.gov to see how much to eat from each food group based on your age, sex, and physical activity level.

Picture a serving size with these examples:

• 3 ounces of meat or poultry = a deck of cards

• 1-1 1/2 ounces of hard cheese = four dice

• 2 tablespoons of cream cheese = a golf ball

• 1 cup of salad or cooked vegetables = a baseball

• 3 ounces grilled/baked fish = checkbook

Quick Tip

Put leftovers in the refrigerator within 2 hours if not sooner. Then enjoy them the next day for lunch or dinner.


Information adapted from article by Go4Life, National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services.

If you would like more information on “Serving and Portion Sizes” contact Gail Gilman, Family Life Consultant, M.Ed., C.F.C.S. and Professor Emeritus University of Minnesota at waldn001@umn.edu. Be sure to watch for more Family Living Focus™ information in next week’s paper.