5 tips that can help you look, feel, and age the healthiest possible:
1) Follow your MyPyramid recommendations by choosing nutrient-rich foods FIRST
2) Start each day with a balanced breakfast
3) Control your portions
4) Snack wisely
5) Making healthy choices on-the-go
The purpose of today’s article is to discuss the major differences between two terms: “serving” and “portion”. The information provided will help to prepare you for July 22nd’s article, which will focus exclusively on simple ways that you can successfully master Healthy Tip #3: Control your portions.
First and foremost, what is the rationale for focusing an entire article on the differences between a serving and a portion? Well, all too often these words are used interchangeably when, in fact, they represent completely different “amounts” of food. For instance, picture a normal bowl of cereal (one that provides your mind and body with fullness and satisfaction): do you make your bowl by pouring the cereal directly from the box and then “eyeballing” how much you want to eat (which usually nears the top of the bowl)? Don’t deny it; we all do! Is this a bad habit? Not necessarily.
EXAMPLE: The average “serving” of cereal (¾ cup) has approximately 150 calories (as indicated on the nutrition facts label). A normal “bowl/portion” of cereal (as proven consistently in consumer presentations) usually contains 2-4 (¾ cup) servings and thus 300-600 calories (and 2-4 times more vitamins and minerals). In this case, eating several servings is a good thing because doing so is providing our bodies with a well-balanced breakfast!
On the other hand, eating several servings can be a less healthful habit if we are not aware of how much we are actually eating. Think about that; if we are eating several servings of various foods at every meal (but think we are just eating one or two), our calorie intake can and will ‘secretly’ skyrocket by the end of the day!
Needless to say, a “serving” and a “portion” are not interchangeable words and to further demonstrate this fact, I would like to define the two terms.
Serving versus Portion: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA’s) use the word “serving” to describe “how much” food we should eat from each food group. Proper serving sizes help to ensure the right balance of nutrients and calories (“Healthy Tip #1: Follow your MyPyramid recommendations by choosing nutrient-rich foods FIRST” (www.dampfang.com/x-48040-Seattle-Weight-Loss-Examiner~y2010m5d28-Healthy-Tip-1–Follow-your-MyPyramid-recommendations-by-choosing-nutrientrich-foods-FIRST).
Thus, a serving is “a measured amount of food or drink, such as one slice of bread or 1 cup of milk” and can be determined via the following methods:
1) Physical Measurements (i.e., measuring cups/spoons).
2) Visual Estimates: Common everyday objects can help us to determine if we are eating more, less, or one serving when we are away from the home.
Please copy and paste this link into your web browser for examples.
C:Documents and SettingsShannonMy DocumentsExaminer ArticlesServing Size References.xps
3) The Nutrition Facts label (for packaged foods). Notably, these serving sizes are not always consistent with the DGA’s serving sizes (i.e., the standard serving on a cereal box is ¾ cup; where as a serving of grain is considered to be 1 cup). Despite this, the nutrition facts label’s serving sizes are useful because they do tend to be standardized. For instance, if we want to determine if one cereal is more nutrient-rich than another, we can do so by comparing the % Daily Values (%DV) for vitamins and minerals on their labels.
On the other hand, a portion is “the amount of a specific food or drink that we CHOOSE to eat at a meal, snack, or other eating occasion.”
Thus, portions can equal one serving OR they can be larger/smaller than a recommended serving size. Most commonly (as I’m sure you all know), portions tend to be larger than a serving.
Not surprisingly, our preference, as a society, for these larger portion sizes is another everyday habit that may be contributing to the increasing number of health issues that are plaguing many Americans today. On that note, feel free to copy and paste the below link into your web browser! These slides will demonstrate how much portion sizes have increased over the past 20 years.
C:Documents and SettingsShannonMy DocumentsExaminer ArticlesPortion Sizes.xps
All in all, I am hopeful that these slides helped to further express the fact that a portion is not a serving (i.e., a “Costco” muffin is not ONE serving, it is several servings). If we are NOT aware of these differences and/or have difficulty controlling the amount of food that we eat, our daily calorie intake can and will be significantly higher than we had anticipated, which in turn, will make weight management or weight loss near to impossible.
So stay tuned because the next article will address simple tips that can help you to better control your food portions, which have become undeniable larger over the years.
Eat Right. Be Confident!