Break Room

5 ways to control portions on the go

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2. Think “portion” and “serving size” every time you eat.

A portion is the amount you eat, and it could consist of one or more serving sizes. Maybe you’ve fallen behind on your servings of vegetables today. For your next meal, go ahead and have a larger portion of vegetables—two or even three servings. The real key here is understanding what a serving size is. When eating packaged foods, a serving size is indicated right on the “Nutrition Facts” label, so become a label reader. For foods that aren’t packaged, you need some “rules of thumb,” like the following:

Meat, poultry, fish and seafood: A serving size is 3 ounces, which is about the size of a deck of cards.

Fruits and vegetables: When they’re cut up or sliced, a serving size is ½ cup, but a whole banana, apple or orange also qualifies as a serving size.

Dairy products: 1 cup of milk or yogurt, or 1½ to 2 ounces (often equated to the size of your thumb or two dominoes) of hard cheese make up one serving size.

Breads and grains: A slice of bread, 1 cup of cereal and ½ cup of cooked pasta or rice are all equivalent to a serving size.

So, as you head down that hospital cafeteria aisle or restaurant buffet aisle, don’t simply load food onto your tray or plate. Choose the foods and the portions wisely, based on your Food Pyramid needs.

Next: What are smart snacks? –>

Cynthia Dusseault
Cynthia Dusseault is a professional freelance writer with both a health and an education background. A former medical radiation technologist and elementary school teacher, she realized that no matter what she did, she was drawn to any task that involved writing, so she decided, over a decade ago, to write full-time. Since then, she has written for a variety of magazines and websites including Nursing PRN, National Review of Medicine, University Affairs, Your Health, Education Leaders Today, Today's Parent, Children's Playmate, WeightWatchers.ca and many more. She has written about topics such as asthma, genital herpes, circumcision, teleradiology, body art, learning disabilities and exercise trends, and she absolutely adores the fact that writing—particularly doing the research for the articles she writes—makes her a lifelong learner.

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