Do you measure or even pay attention to how much food you're putting on your plate? Food serving sizes along with portion serving sizes are often misunderstood by most people, leading them to underestimate how much they eat by as much as 25%! To put it into perspective: if you're aiming for 2,000 calories per day, you might be missing out on 500.
This is the simple difference between losing or gaining a pound in a week, which is crucial to many. Most healthy eaters know that watching their portion sizes is an easy way to stay on track with weight loss goals. Nonetheless, it can still be tricky - especially because many get confused between the difference of a serving size and portion size.
What Is A Serving Size?
A serving size is a measured amount of food that you're recommended to eat daily. You'll see it on the food label of just about anything, decoded as 1 cup, 1 slice, 1 teaspoon, etc. Food label serving sizes are determined by the manufacturer, so they might not match the dietary guidelines. Therefore it’s a good idea to stick to what the guidelines say when determining your food serving sizes.
What is A Portion Size?
On the flip side, a portion size is the amount of food or drink you consume in one sitting. It could be exactly one serving size, a larger amount, or a smaller amount. Portion sizes have actually grown significantly over the years, placing value-for-money ahead of nutrition. This is distorting the perception of how much one should actually be eating. Prime examples are ordering a small soda and small meal and getting a TON of food.
Serving Size Guide
Portion distortion can be overcome by learning how much to eat of each and not binge-eating it all in one sitting. Therefore, even though serving size and portion size differ, they actually work together. Follow the below serving size guide to know how much of a certain food you should consume daily.
Fruit: 2 servings, or 1 cup of fruit juice per day (often under-portioned)
Vegetables: 2 1/2 servings, 2 cups as a serving (often under-portioned)
Grains (Rice, Pasta, Cereal, Granola): 6 servings per day, 1/2 cup for every serving (often over-portioned)
Nuts: 1 serving, or a small handful (often over-portioned)
Cheese: 3 servings, 1/2 oz for every serving (often over-portioned)
Sweets (Ice Cream): 270 calories, or 1 serving (often over-portioned)