Americans have gotten used to large food portions. From home cooked meals to restaurant fare, portion sizes have increased and we seem to have lost sight of how to gauge what constitutes a normal size meal.
And, as the size of our meals grows, so do we. According to the CDC, restaurant meals today are on average four times larger than they were in the 1950s. As a result, adults on average are 26 pounds heavier. That presents numerous health risks, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Of course, when you got out to eat you can choose the smaller meal. Or you can eat half and take the rest home. If you feel like sharing, you can split the meal with a friend. But we have become so desensitized to what is a normal portion that it becomes difficult to determine.
Here is a quick, easy way to keep your portions under control. All you need are your hands:
Protein: Whether you choose to eat fish, beef, chicken, tofu or another protein, the portion should be the size of the palm of your hand, about three ounces.
Carbohydrates: If you enjoy pasta, rice or potatoes, choose a serving about the size of your fist. That equates to about one cup.
Dairy: For cheese, use your thumb as a guide, about one ounce. For yogurt, use your fist, about one cup. For butter, use the tip of your thumb, about one teaspoon.
Fat: One tablespoon is about the size of both thumbs and a good way to measure nut butters or olive oil.
Fruits and veggies: Make a fist, the equivalent of a cup, and you have the portion size for fruits and veggies.
Other: For nuts or pretzels, cup your hand to estimate about one to two ounces. For ice cream, half a fist equals half a cup, more or less.
Hopefully, these suggestions will give you an easy way to avoid large food portions and help you develop a sense of a normal meal size. Start paying attention to not just what you eat, but how much. Use CraveMate to capture images of your meals and share them with your friends, family and the CraveMate community.