Visualizing Portion Size When Dining Out
We eat with our eyes, not with our stomachs. This is especially true when eating out. Research has shown that we usually decide how much to eat because of what we see in our environment, not because of hunger. Factors such as how much food is on the table and even the size of the tableware influence how much food we eat and how many calories we consume.
The effect is huge. Eating a mere 50 more calories a day can result in a five-pound weight gain over a year. In this article, we’ll explore ways to be mindful of how to keep calories in check when eating outside of the home.
You’re not likely to bring a scale or a measuring cup with you to a restaurant, and you certainly don’t want to dine with someone who does. But there are still easy visual ways to judge how much food you’re consuming during your restaurant meal.
Oversize restaurant plates can fool you into thinking you’re eating reasonable portions. Here are a few simple ways to determine if there’s too much food on your plate for a single meal:
Meat, Poultry and Fish
One hundred grams, or 3½ ounces, is considered a healthy, standard serving size for most meats, poultry or seafood. That’s about the size of a deck of cards, a computer mouse or the palm of your hand. When ordering shrimp, keep in mind that five or six large (not jumbo) shrimp equal the standard serving size.
For pastas, rice, mixed grain or potato dishes, a serving about the size of a man’s fist or a baseball equals about one cup. Keep those serving sizes to the size of a tennis ball, which equals about ½ cup.
The standard serving size for salad dressing is two tablespoons, or one ounce, which is about the size of a pingpong ball or an ice cube.
Vegetables and Salad Greens
As long as your veggies or salads aren’t cooked in oil, covered with cheese sauce or dripping in dressing, you don’t need to worry about maximum serving size. In fact, few of us get enough of them