Have you ever looked at the side of your cereal box to see what the “serving amount” is? A typical box of kid-loving cereal has an average serving size at ¾ of a cup. Think about the last time you poured yourself a bowl in the morning. Do you think you ate one simple serving?
I’m guessing not. In fact, thanks to the size of our bowls, you probably at least tripled it.
One of my favorite ways to trick my brain into eating a single serving of cereal is to use my kid’s toddler bowls.
My picture here shows a single serving of cereal in a Gerber toddler bowl, verse my own grown-up bowl. By using the smaller bowl I don’t feel like I’m depriving myself and I feel like I’m eating a filling amount.
Interestingly enough, studies at the University of Illinois show that people may tend to eat more food when it’s served in larger containers. When movie-goers were given the same amount of popcorn in containers of two different sizes for the study, the people given the larger tubs ate 44% more!
Practicing Portion Control with Proper Serving Sizes
Obviously when dinning out, meal sizes have greatly increased. From the 1950’s versus the early 2000’s, pasta portions have doubled, and burger sizes have tripled. Even baked goods serving sizes have tripled, too.
For comparison, a proper bagel serving size is 2 ounces, and that counts as 2 servings from the bread/cereal/grain food group. If you were to enjoy a bagel dinning out though, chances are it’s now 6 ounces, and counts as 6 servings from your bread/cereal/grain food group.
To help fight the battle of the bulge, you can always split a meal when you’re at a restaurant, or eat only half of your plate. Another option would be to get a to-go container as soon as your food arrives and immediately divide half of it up to take home.
When eating at home, use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate. Don’t have seconds. And slow down while eating your meal. Some research suggests over-lighting can stimulate the appetite, so try turning the lights down lower, if possible. It maybe psychological, yes, but whatever helps, well, helps.
Let your hand guide you
Another helpful trick for remembering proper portions is to use your hand as a serving size guide:
Your fist is about the size of a cup. Think of it with pasta, fruit, beverages, cereal, and casseroles.
Your cupped hand is about the size of ½ cup. This is great for rice, potatoes, beans or ice cream.
Your thumb is about the size of a tablespoon or an ounce. This is helpful with cheese, salad dressing, peanut butter, and sour cream.
Your thumb tip is about the size of a teaspoon. Use this with your oils, mayo and butter.
Your palm (minus your fingers) is about a 3 oz serving size of protein.
Your cupped hands together are about one to two ounces of a snack, like pretzels or nuts.
What are your favorite portion controlling tips? I’d love to know, so leave me a comment below!