7 Ways to Size Down Your Portions

By Dr. Jean Harvey, Ph.D., R.D., Joyce Hendley, M.S., EatingWell Editors, "Portions Visualized," The EatingWell Diet (2007)

Don’t let supersized portions sabotage your healthy eating.

These days, eating out—at least some of the time—is normal. And whether they come from a restaurant, takeout or vending machine, the portions we’re being served are often larger than life. A simple test: look at the nutrition label on some of your favorite packaged foods. Is the serving size listed there realistic, or are there actually 2.5 servings listed for that one snack-sized bag of potato chips? And consider this: the giant bagel from the shop on the corner can weigh in at 5 ounces—that’s like eating the equivalent of 5 slices of bread! And we’ve gotten so used to seeing these oversized helpings that we think they’re normal—and that anything else looks skimpy. So we pile our plates higher at home too. Part of learning how to eat better is to retrain your brain to recognize—and embrace—more realistic portion sizes. Here are some tried-and-true techniques to keep your eating in check.

Use smaller serving pieces. A 7-inch plate, about the size of a “salad” plate or children’s-size plate, is ideal for your main meal. Choose a 1-cup dessert or cereal bowl instead of a soup bowl, a 6-ounce wine glass rather than a goblet.

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