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Portion Size: Does it Matter?

I recently saw a show where they compared a typical fast food meal from back in the 1970′s to one today.  Both meals consisted of a hamburger, soda and order of French fries.  The 1970′s meal resulted in a total of 590 calories, while today’s version ended up at a whopping 1,050 calories!!   The only difference between the two was portion size.  That 1970′s meal consisted of what we might now consider to be a child’s meal–small hamburger, small fries and child size (12 oz) soda. The 2011 version was supersized. 

The show got me thinking about portion sizes in general and how important it is to pay attention to them.  For example, when you have pasta are you having one serving or two?  Look at the box–you’ll see that what equates to one serving of pasta is most likely less (in some cases a lot less!) than what you’re having.  Not adhering to the actual portion size will result in consuming a lot more calories than you’re allowing for.

So, this brings me back to my favorite subject–fruits and vegetables.  If you do a calorie comparison you’ll see that you get a greater portion of fruits and/or vegetables than most other foods.  Let’s say you’re looking for a sweet snack that will come in at 100 calories.  You can have either 2 cups of fresh strawberries or 3/8 of a donut.  What sounds more satisfying and seriously, can anyone really eat only 3/8 of a donut??   In fact, take a look at our comparison chart on what you can eat for a 100 calories snack.

The same goes for your meals.  Filling half your plate with fruits and veggies allows you to fill up, but keep the calorie and fat content down.  Plus, you’re getting a lot more valuable nutrients by eating more produce.

My advice is to pay attention to serving sizes and nutrition labels in general.  Don’t assume that the beverage you purchased is one serving–look at the nutrition label and you’ll most likely find you’re consuming two or more.  It can get confusing so follow our easy guide to understanding food labels.  Just remember to be sure you know what you’re eating–it’s very frustrating if you’re trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight and you’re unsuccessful.  It might all come down to portion size.

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