Bucking the Big Gulp theory.
The venti coffee at Starbucks. The big tub of popcorn at the movies.
It’s a basic law of restaurant economics: overhead is fixed, ingredients are cheap. Why not pile a little more on each plate? It’s win-win; the customer pays a little more for the super-sized portion and the restaurant clears a little more profit. But the recession is changing all that. Smaller portions at lower prices are in.
Portion control pays a big dietary dividend. Over the course of a year, you’ll lose about a pound for every 10 calories you cut from your daily intake. Cutting 100 calories is as painless as substituting tortilla chips for potato chips, a bagel for a donut, mozzarella instead of Swiss.
Bigger isn’t always better!
Here are some online resources to help you boost your portion awareness:
NutritionData.com is a good place to start. Its Daily Needs Calculator will recommend values for key nutrients based on your age, body mass index, and activity level.
Epicurious.com has a directory of portion control products like food scales, food scoops, and serving guideline place mats and plates.
Visual Cues can help you estimate proper portion sizes (baseball-sized vegetable servings, thumb-sized cheese, and 4 stacked dimes for fats).
Divine Caroline has a pictorial essay depicting food portion trends over the last few decades.
How portion savvy are you? Take the interactive Portion Distortion Quiz sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.