Food Serving Size Introduction and History
In order to understand this subject, we first need to define it as well as the term food portion. These we're sure you've heard of and even used sometime but do we know the difference?
Food portion is the amount of food you as an individual choose to eat at any one point in time. When it comes to food portion size, no one portion can be said to be right or wrong. It's either just simply more or less than the recommended serving size depending on how much of it you eat.
The food serving size is what is used to provide nutritional information on foods and is designed to help one compare nutrition facts of similar foods. Put simply, a serving size is the standard amount of food that is used to advise you on how much to eat. That is, they are designed to assist you in determining how much to eat at meals so you do not en up over-indulging on some of your favorites! NB: Serving size is NOT necessarily the recommended amount of food to eat. Although you may find that sometimes it's smaller or larger than or is the same as the recommended serving size.
One of the biggest challenges that most people face today when it comes to meal and or snack times is portion control. Generally speaking, food portions and serving sizes have been on the increase over the past 20 years. This has not only been in the fast food outlets but also in our homes at our dinner tables.
It's important, as with most of the other things in life (too much of anything is not good!) to moderate your food intake and have a well-balanced diet. Moderation is one of the keys to eating healthy. The increase in food portions has had a negative health effect on a lot of people of this generation across the globe, especially in America. The proof is on the waistlines.
The National Institutes of Health produced a report showing that 1 in 4 Americans are obese. Obesity, more so childhood obesity has also been on the rise worldwide. It comes with many adverse health effects such as diabetes, heart diseases and arthritis, just to name a few. few. Therefore it is of utmost importance to portion your food serving size correctly as well as get plenty of physical activity (and we're not only talking about the routine or typical exercises, even housework or washing the car is physical activity) in order to lead a healthy lifestyle. As we've just mentioned earlier, food portions and ultimately one's food serving size has generally been on the increase over the years.
According to the Journal Of American Medical Association the following facts have been deduced: 20 years ago
The new food pyramid tweaked at this a little to suite different activity levels.
Food Serving Size GuideFor Children, Kids, Toddlers
The table below shows the suggested food serving size of food for children.
|Food Group||Number of Servings||1-3 years||4-5 years||6-12 years|
|Carbs i.e Bread, Cereal, Pasta, Grains||5 or less||half a slice or quarter of a cup||half a slice or a thrid of a cup||1 slice or half a cup|
|Vegetables||3-5||a quarter of a cup||a third of a cup||half of a cup|
|Fruits||2-4||one quarter of a cup||one third of a cup||one half of a cup|
|Milk and Dairy Products||2-3||half a cup||three quarters of a cup||1 cup|
|Protein, i.e Meat and other non-dairy sources of protein (nuts, eggs, tofu, beans, etc)||2-3||1oz (28g) or a quarter of a cup||1 1/2oz (43g) or a third of a cup||2oz (56g) or half a cup|
In the carbohydrates group, where possible, aim to have whole grains as they are more nutritious. When it comes to vegetables, any vegetable or pure vegetable juice (100%) counts as a member of the vegetable group. You may have your vegetables in several ways to create variety, that is raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up, or mashed. The same applies for the fruit group. In the milk and dairy products group, where possible, try to have Fat Free or 1% milk,yogurt and low sugar calcium fortified juices. Try to avoid the sweetened yogurts. And finally, the protein group, when eating meat, include more of the lean meats as they have less fat. The fats and sugars obviously have to be consumed sparingly. These same tips apply to teenagers and adults also whose table is just below.
Food Serving Size Guide For Teenagers and Adults
The table below shows the suggested serving sizes for teenagers and adults.
|Food Group||Number of Servings||13 yrs and older|
|Carbs i.e Bread, Cereal, Pasta, Grains||5 or less||1 slice or half a cup|
|Vegetables||3-5||half a cup|
|Fruits||2-4||half a cup|
|Milk and other Dairy Products||2-3||1 cup|
|Protein, i.e Meat and other non-dairy sources of protein (nuts, eggs, tofu, beans, etc)||2-3||2-3oz (56-85g) or half a cup|
A short list of tips to get you started on the correct food serving size, in time you'll be a pro!
In conclusion, if you've realized that your food portions are too much you may want to try and make some changes, drastic ones if the portions you are having are way too much. You will obviously suffer some withdrawal symptoms after reducing your food portion and food serving size. It is very helpful to have some fruits and vegetables as snacks. It is advised to have 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day. This way you will be snacking on highly nutritional food which is low in calories as well as reducing the risk of cancer. In fact, where possible make 50% of your plate fruits and vegetables. Most people's diets are seriously lacking in these.
Another trick would be to have high quality protein foods such as eggs, lean meat, nuts and poultry. Protein is an important part of any diet. It activates your metabolism and helps to you eat less by keeping you satiated for longer. One of the important things to have in mind is how much and how often to eat. Choosing healthy food, keeping your portions and food serving size in check and some physical activity will not only help you to lose weight but also maintain a healthy weight. You may also want to substitute refined foods for whole grains. For example white rice for brown rice, white bread for whole wheat or whole grain bread.