How Do I Choose the Best Food Serving Sizes?

Kristeen Moore

One of the most effective ways to lose and manage your weight is by controlling food serving sizes. In many western nations, seemingly normal food portions are much larger than the human body actually needs to sustain itself. Aside from eating smaller servings, it is important to choose nutritious foods over empty calories in order to stay satisfied and prevent binge eating. If you are trying to lose weight through dietary changes, there are a few other important points you should also consider so that you can achieve your goals.

Calories and fat content shown on a nutrition label are based on a specific serving size.
Calories and fat content shown on a nutrition label are based on a specific serving size.

Food serving sizes help you to determine how much of a particular item you should eat. Unfortunately, many portions are more than double what you actually need, which makes controlling calories a challenging process. It is essential that you reduce the portions of the everyday foods that you eat in order to decrease calories for weight loss and prevent gaining additional pounds. When eating out, you might consider eating half of your meal as a method of portion control.

A serving size of meat is about the size of a palm.
A serving size of meat is about the size of a palm.

Determining the best food serving sizes on a regular basis takes more preparation than simply eating less, especially if you want to gain the best nutritional value. American food portion advocates recommend that half of your plate consist of both vegetables and fruits, with vegetables being the majority. Over one-quarter of your dish should be derived from grains, while less than a quarter of protein. A dairy item, such as a small cup of milk or modest portion of cheese will also complement a balanced meal. Keep in mind that these recommendations are based off of normal-sized plates; using plates that exceed eight inches in diameter will likely equate to larger food serving sizes.

Another method to help to control food portions is by choosing healthier foods and limiting higher-calorie versions in smaller sizes. Generally, a proper serving size of most carbohydrates and vegetables are around the size of a baseball. A serving of meat can range between 1 to 3 ounces (28.35 to 85.05 grams), which is far less than what most people get at home and while dining out. Another pitfall to portion control is the misinterpretation of food labels because many people often exceed what is recommended on the package.

Long-term weight loss success and maintenance is dependent on the regular control of food serving sizes. Ultimately, you will feel more satisfied by eating fruits, vegetables, and grains, which contain less calories and more fiber, as opposed to empty snacks and treats. Keep in mind that it takes 3,500 calories to burn 1 pound (0.45 kg) of fat. Dietary changes like portion control can help you to burn calories, but complementing healthy eating with regular exercise will ensure better success.

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