Published on December 10, 2019

Portion Control Pitfalls

From binge-watching TV shows to one-click online shopping, overconsumption is in. Yet, more isn’t always marvelous, especially when it comes to food. Whittle your waistline with these portion control pointers.

Portion Size vs. Serving Size

woman slouched on couch reaching her hand into a small bowl of potato chipsIt’s easy to confuse portion size with serving size. Serving size refers to a measured amount of food or drink, which is listed on the Nutrition Facts label. This information is not a suggested amount to eat, but rather it tells you how much of each nutrient the food contains. Portion size refers to the amount of food you actually eat.

Food for thought: The size of dinner plates has increased 36% since the 1960s. When you order a meal at a restaurant, you’re not eating one serving. More than likely, you’re eating enough food for three people.

Let’s look at it another way. Say you’re celebrating a friend’s promotion with a pizza and wine party.

Food and Drink

Typical Serving Size

What You Actually Consume (Portion Size)


One glass, 5 ounces, 125 calories

Three glasses, 15 ounces, 375 calories

Supreme pizza

One medium slice, 270 calories

Three medium slices, 810 calories

Total calories



The USDA estimates women need on average 1,500-2,000 calories a day. You might be shocked how quickly you can blow through those numbers.

So What?

Nearly 40% of adults are obese, meaning their body mass index is 30 or higher. Obesity can cause a hefty list of serious health problems, including certain cancers, diabetes, heart disease and stroke to name just a few.

Obesity also affects your quality of life. Excess weight can make it difficult, even painful, to move and breathe easily. It can also lead to depression and anxiety.

Portion Control Pointers

  • Ignore your mom’s voice, the one that says, “Clean your plate.” Halve your meal as soon as it lands in front of you, and ask for a to-go box. If you’re eating at home, portion it into containers promptly. Bonus: Tomorrow’s lunch is ready to go.
  • Split a meal with a friend when eating out. There’s more than enough for two.
  • Don’t eat from the bag. Break the habit of plopping on the couch with a bag of chips. Instead, put the amount you plan on eating in a bowl. If you’re dining out, do the same. Don’t fall for the endless basket of bread or chips.
  • Serve food on salad plates instead of dinner plates. The plate looks fuller, and you’ll eat less.

If you’re concerned about your weight and its effect on your health, we offer nutrition counseling services and bariatric surgery options.