Courtesy: WIN (The Weight-control Information Network)
Whatâ€™s the difference between a portion and a serving?
A â€œportionâ€ is how much food you choose to eat at one time, whether in a restaurant, from a package, or in your own kitchen. A â€œservingâ€ size is the amount of food listed on a productâ€™s Nutrition Facts. Sometimes, the portion size and serving size match; sometimes they do not. Keep in mind that the serving size on the Nutrition Facts is not a recommended amount of food to eat. It is a quick way of letting you know the calories and nutrients in a certain amount of food.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Nutrition Facts information is printed on most packaged foods. It tells you how many calories and how much fat, carbohydrate, sodium, and other nutrients are available in one serving of food. Most packaged foods contain more than a single serving. The serving sizes that appear on food labels are based on FDA-established lists of foods. (For more information, see www.cfsan.fda.gov.)
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How can I control portions at home?
You do not need to measure and count everything you eat for the rest of your lifeâ€”just do this long enough to recognize typical serving sizes. Try the ideas listed below to help you control portions at home.
- Take the amount of food that is equal to one serving, according to the Nutrition Facts, and eat it off a plate instead of eating straight out of a large box or bag.
- Avoid eating in front of the TV or while busy with other activities. Pay attention to what you are eating, chew your food well, and fully enjoy the smell and taste of your foods.
- Eat slowly so your brain can get the message that your stomach is full.
- Try using smaller dishes, bowls, and glasses. This way, when you fill up your plate or glass, you will be eating and drinking less.
- To control your intake of the higher-fat, higher-calorie parts of a meal, take seconds of vegetables and salads (watch the toppings) instead of desserts and dishes with heavy sauces.
- When cooking in large batches, freeze food that you will not serve right away. This way, you will not be tempted to finish eating the whole batch before the food goes bad. And you will have ready-made food for another day. Freeze leftovers in amounts that you can use for a single serving or for a family meal another day.
- Try to eat meals at regular intervals. Skipping meals or leaving large gaps of time between meals may lead you to eat larger amounts of food the next time that you eat.
- When buying snacks, go for single-serving prepackaged items and foods that are lower-calorie options. If you buy larger bags or boxes of snacks, divide the items into single-serve packages.
- Make snacks count. Eating many high-calorie snacks throughout the day may lead to weight gain. Replace snacks like chips and soda with snacks such as low-fat or fat-free yogurt, smoothies, fruit, or whole-grain crackers.
- When you do have a treat like chips or ice cream, measure out 1/2 cup of ice cream or 1 ounce of chips, as indicated by the Nutrition Facts, eat it slowly, and enjoy it!
WIN: The Weight-control Information Network is an information service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK).
CVS Unlimited, LLC is a paid affiliate of Botanic Choice.