Dr. Megan Johnson McCullough -Multiple times per day we have to think about food and we have to eat food to function. How much we eat at any particular time requires self-regulation, willpower, paying attention and responding to our body’s hunger cues, and having to make choices about what we are consuming. Sometimes we are really hungry and other times we are not. A portion size, by definition, is how much you eat at one sitting. A serving size, by definition, is the amount of food you have at one sitting. Real life doesn’t always put us in a position to weigh and measure our foods at all times to truly have exact serving sizes. You get to decide the portions of what you
have, be it one or more servings. The serving size is standard and will always the same but portions are changeable.
To generalize this concept, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, currently states the following recommendation for servings based on an average of 2,000 calories per day:
Vegetables: 2½ cups
Fruits: 2 cups
Grains 6 oz
Dairy: 3 cups
Protein: 5½ ounce-equivalents
Oils: 27 grams
Here are a few shocking meals restaurants have. Some people might eat it all, some might take some to go and eat it later, and others might just leave it on their plate. In any case, it is much too much food at one sitting for anyone.
IHOP serves a country skillet with country fried chicken that has 2,350 calories, 155 g fat (51 saturated), 5,180 mg sodium. Put all that together and it would be the equivalent of eating about 26 fried eggs.
Even though you would share the bloomin’ onion from Outback Steakhouse, the whole appetizer has 1,956 calories, 156 grams fat (56 saturated), 3,841 mg sodium. That is the same amount as if you ate 43 chicken nuggets from Wendy’s. Eating half of that appetizer is having nearly 20 chicken nuggets.
How about some fish and chips from Applebee’s? That meal has 1,970 calories, 136 g fat (24 g saturated fat, 1 g trans-fat), 4,180 mg sodium, 134 g carbohydrates.
Having a personal size deep dish Chicago style pizza can have the same number of calories, fat and sodium as eating 7 slices of Domino’s pizza.
It’s just too much and when you add any drink other than water to the mix, the numbers continue to skyrocket. We don’t always eat like this or eat out, but even just once per week and one meal is a whole lot of extra. Plus, this typically isn’t the only thing you eat in one day, so again, you are definitely overeating. Your hard work of activity is quickly reversed. We have to think before we eat and plan ahead. Last minute eating often results in poor choices and in the moment self-sabotage. Find balance and find nutrition as something you can do to better take care of yourself.