Anyone who has eaten out lately is likely to notice how big the portions are. It’s hard to find “small” anymore-“supersize is more like it. Sometimes your plate arrives, and there’s enough food for two or even three people. These ever-larger portions have changed what we think of as a “normal” portion, and that affects how much we eat at home as well. Cutting back on portion size is a surefire way to help keep energy IN and energy OUT in balance:

  • Order a medium pizza instead of a large. Everyone gets the same number of slices as before; they’re just smaller.
  • Order an appetizer instead of an entree at a restaurant.
  • Use tall, narrow glasses instead of short, wide glasses. You will drink less.
  • Put a smaller portion on a smaller plate; it won’t look so skimpy.
  • Share a portion with a family member or friend.
  • Instead of giving your child an entire bottle of fruit juice or soda, pour a small amount (1/2 cup) into a cup.

What’s the Difference Between a Portion and a Recommended Serving Size?

Portion- A “portion” is the amount of a food that you choose to eat for a meal or snack. It can be big or small-you decide.

Serving- A “serving” is a measured amount of food or drink, such as one slice of bread or 1 cup of milk. Some foods that most people consume as a single serving actually contain multiple serving sizes 9 (e.g. a 20-ounce soda, or a 3-ounce bag of chips). Nutrition recommendations use serving sizes to help people know how much of different types of foods they should eat to get the nutrients they need. The Nutrition Facts Label on packaged foods also lists a serving size.  The serving sizes on packaged foods are not always the same as those included in nutrition recommendations. However, serving sizes are standardized  to make it easier to compare similar foods. To get an idea of how big recommended serving sizes really are, check out NHLBI’s Serving Size Card at servingcard7.pdf. And, for help on using the Nutrition Fats Label, visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Web site at