Healthy Food Portions – Serving vs Portion

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,411
    Debbie Woehler from the Oliver Foundation discusses the difference between a serving size and a portion.

    Deborah Woehler: Hi! I am Deborah Woehler with the Oliver Foundation, and we've been talking about how to create healthy portion sizes.

    So today we are talking about what is the serving versus what is the portion.

    A serving size is a designated size of the serving for the food guide pyramid. A portion is what you serve your plate, serve yourself, or what served in a restaurant. So for example, a serving of pasta is one half of a cup. So this is what one half cup of serving looks like.

    Although this maybe more similar to what you are served in a restaurant, this is five servings. So if you are consuming five servings in one sitting that's not leaving much for rest of the day.

    So remember, this is one serving and this is five servings, or we would call it a portion what you served on your plate or what the restaurant served.

    A half an English muffin would be a serving size and this is a normal size slice of bread, its not one of those oversize slices. So that's about an ounce, so that's one serving size.

    So if you are served, let's say in a deli or a restaurant, you had a hoagie or an extra large sandwich. You may actually have 5, 6, 7 or 8 bread servings in that extra large sandwich.

    So, a way to visualize that is to cut down what one bread serving actually looks like, so you can calculate it and estimate it.

    We've talked about chips and things before, and as a general rule of thumb for any type of chips and potato chips; a serving is 10 to 15 chips. So a really about the only way to control that is to take the chips out of the bag and put them on to the bowl or to the plate.

    Let's take a look at a wine beverage and unlike other foods, the portion sizes have grown on those. This is a four ounce serving of wine and that is one serving. I would think that if you receive that in a restaurant, you probably send it back if it is unacceptable. This is one serving.

    This is one cup of wine or double serving, and most likely, this is what you are being served in most restaurants, and probably what you are serving yourself at home. So that's actually two servings in one portion.

    So I hope I've made it clear about a serving size versus the portion; a serving size versus a portion.

    Here comes the part where you are going to learn to be an expert on your serving sizes and your portion sizes.

    The easiest way and the fastest way to learn those, is to use the measuring cups and the measuring spoons, and to utilize the food scale. So you know exactly what you are eating.

    And I recommend that you do that for -- and each person is different, may be it's a week, two weeks until you are comfortable with what the portion size is. So, if you are measuring your milk for your cereal, for example, you would want to measure out exactly what a cup is before pouring it out on your cereal. Also there are some other little tricks that you can employ; the palm of your hand and the thickness of your hand is about three ounces or the serving size of a portion of protein.

    A deck of cards is about three ounces and by the way, I weigh these and they are 3.

    1 ounces; so they are right on the number. 3 dice are about a serving of cheese. So there are some other tools that you can use.

    A tennis ball is like a half of a cup and the cup of your hand would be approximately a half of cup or a serving of grapes.

    We'll be talking in more details about some of these techniques with eating out and to have a control of the portions and the fat content in restaurant meals.

    Next, we are going to be talking about portion distortion.