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Family Fitness: How to determine the right portion size for you?

Posted by Bert on 4/11/2013 to Family Fitness
Last week we talked about portion sizes and how they’ve changed over the years. I asked if you think we’re wired to want more. This week I want to look at how you can best gauge portion size in your everyday life as well.

Some people do really well with visualizing and while I’m not one of those people here are a few tips that I found for you to use:

Use your hand as a measuring device; as you can see in the chart there’s quite a bit that you can measure using only your hand. Seeing the measurement for a tablespoon and that it should be used with peanut butter is definitely an eye opener for me! My tablespoon of peanut butter is a lot more than what’s pictured!

You can also use everyday objects as tools for measuring portions like what’s seen in this picture. I like how they use the plate along with their examples.

I first heard about this tactic from Julia Roberts; basically instead of using a dinner plate to place your food on take a salad plate and use that. It’s actually called the Small Plate Movement. With this picture you can even see the portion size for a child. Notice how close the accurate portion can be regulated just by using a salad plate versus the dinner plate?

To figure out the correct portion size you need to learn what the serving size of a food is. According to the website Eat Right, which is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ website, “A ‘serving’ is the amount of food recommended in consumer education materials such as MyPlate. A ‘portion’ is the amount of a food you choose to eat at any one time — which may be more or less than a serving.”

Print off a few of these images and use them in your home. When you’re out to eat ask the server to box half of your meal before you get it so that you don’t overindulge since we know that the servings in restaurants are extremely large. What visual aid do you use to help control your portion sizes? If you don’t currently use one which one do you think you’ll start to use?

Next week we’re going to look at teaching our kids how to eat right. I’ll have a few printables for you to use with your little ones!

Bio: Bert is a stay at home mom of two, wife to college sweetheart, and what she calls a "semi-crunchy" mama. After four years of being overweight related to pregnancies, Bert submitted a video entry into a local Biggest Loser type of fitness challenge; she was chosen and lost 25% of her body weight in 90 days. She blogs at FirstTimeMom about everything from cloth diapers, parenting, life and her recent passion with health and fitness.

Dinner plate salad plate pic: Courtesy of Martin Poole/Lifesize/Getty Images