the difference between a serving size and a portion size?
Plenty. A serving size is a specific measure of a food. A
portion is the amount of that food that happens to be on my
plate. Why should we care? Understanding serving sizes is one
key to help manage our growing national waistline.
example, one serving of milk is defined by nutrition experts
as 8-ounces or 1 cup. Two cups (16 ounces) would be two
servings and so on. Most adults need two servings or 2 cups of
a calcium-rich food such as milk, yogurt or fortified soy
beverage every day for optimal health. On the other hand, a
portion of milk — what one actually consumes at a meal —
might be a whole other animal.
point: On a recent road trip, we stopped at a popular
restaurant for breakfast.
ordered a glass of milk with my meal.
you want the medium or large size?" the waiter asked.
thinking it somewhat odd that "small" was not even
an option, I asked, "How big is the medium?"
ounces," she said. "And the large is 32
dietitian brain calculated, a medium portion at this
restaurant provides 2 servings of milk — my daily quota. And
the belly busting 32 ounces — a whole quart — could easily
feed a family of four.
this matter? Large portions add extra nutrients and they also
add extra calories. One cup (8 ounces) of low fat milk, for
example, contains about 300 milligrams of calcium, 120
calories and as much protein as an egg. A 32-ounce portion
weighs in at almost 500 calories, a day’s supply of calcium
and close to a daily quota for protein. We need to know the
we always have to consume standardized serving sizes. I just
need to know that — if I consume a 16 ounce portion of milk
— I have just met my daily goal of two servings of a high
guidelines also tell us to consume 2 to 3 servings of a
protein-rich food each day. And this recommendation comes with
the understanding that one serving is equivalent to 3 ounces
of cooked meat, fish, tofu, poultry or the like. However, Mr.
Bodybuilder might eat a 12-ounce portion of steak which — in
nutrition terms — equates to 4 servings.
adds up is this: If we understand serving sizes, we can figure
out how the actual portions we eat stack up to recommendations
for optimal health (and weight). Here’s one good source to
help with that. www.choosemyplate.gov.
also learn to order smaller portions. Or to share gargantuan
restaurant portions with someone else. That’s important,