Size Matters – Getting Food Portions Under Control

(CARLSBAD, CA) – You’re busy. And your jam-packed schedule often means breakfast at Starbucks or a lunchtime drive-thru at the “golden arches.” But, you don’t worry too much about the calories. After all, you didn’t supersize anything. Or did you?

Portion sizes have grown in the past couple of decades. McDonald’s may no longer have supersize offerings front and center, after the Super Size Me documentary made people across America rethink their order preferences. But, gargantuan-size portions haven’t left the menu. Large sizes are simply labeled under more subtle names; they’re now called small or medium.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, portion sizes have grown substantially over the past 20 years. The average small-sized soda was 85 calories in the 1980s. Today, a small soda packs a whopping 250 calories. The average serving of French fries was 210 calories in previous decades, but now delivers 610 calories.

The big, fat problem with these overstuffed servings is that people tend to eat what’s in front of them. Whether you have a 300-calorie cheeseburger or a 600-calorie cheeseburger sitting on your plate, studies show that it’s hard to stop eating when the food is right in front of you!

What do increased portion sizes mean in real terms? It means we’re eating more! Yale University reports that Americans are eating 400 more calories per day than we did 30 years ago. That’s the equivalent of 42 pounds gained from excess portion sizes.

The key to keeping your calorie intake – and your waistline – in check is to be vigilant about your portion sizes. Of course, most of us don’t carry around measuring spoons in our handbags. And that’s why Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett has a few simple rules of thumb for eyeballing a proper portion size on common foods.

  • Cheese – A one-ounce portion is about the size of 5 dice.
  • Meat – One three-ounce serving is the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand.
  • Pasta – The recommended half-cup serving equals the size of a racquetball.
  • Salad dressing – Two capfuls generally equal a two-tablespoon portion.
  • Butter – The tip of your thumb is a good measurement for one teaspoon of butter.
  • Cereal – Most cereals designate a portion size of three-fourths to one cup. Use a smaller bowl to keep your portion close to the recommendation.
  • Snacks – Eat one handful that equals the size of a golf ball. Never eat out of the bag!

Try putting a few of these tricks into your repertoire of tactics for portion control. And if you overeat at one meal, don’t beat yourself up. Remember that one meal won’t destroy your figure. It’s your eating pattern over time that makes the difference.

Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,500 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1969, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.

Posted: 9/10/2008 9:09:43 AM by Jazzercise | with 0 comments

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