TOTW Tuesday: A Word on Portion Sizes + A Giveaway!

by Ashley on October 29, 2013

Hi friends! I hope your day is off to a great start. I’m on the road with the hub again one last time before a become slightly more grounded in just a few weeks (more on that later!).

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Today I want to talk about something that seems to effect us all, myself included: portion sizes. While food quality is certainly important, you can eat “health foods” all day long and still gain weight as long as you’re eating too large of portion sizes. When I first went vegetarian a few years ago, I actually gained weight because of this very issue. Instead of eating meat, I found myself reaching for a handful of nuts and a scoop (or three or four!) of nut butter here and there, which began to add up to quite a few additional calories everyday. At the time, I wasn’t aware that one serving of peanut butter (= 2 tbsp) had close to 200 calories! And when it came to the peanut butter dipping for my apples, I was reaching for much more than one “serving”!

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It’s hard to think about food in proper serving sizes, especially we’re your hungry. And it’s even harder to think about it when we learn that one serving of pasta is equal to 1/3 – 1/2 of a cup (cooked!). Seriously? Who eats 1/3 – 1/2 a cup of pasta when they eat spaghetti? Not me! Cup your hand and look at your palm… that’s equal to approximately 90 calories before the oil, sauce, cheese and meat. See how quickly it adds up?

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So why does this matter anyway?

Large portion sizes are the leading cause of weight gain. We live in a land of excess not only in our restaurants anymore but in our own kitchens now too. We are buying cheap food, eating it until we are sick, and still seeing malnutrition frequently because of the lack of nutrition present in the food that we are choosing. Most people would never associate overweight with malnutrition, but in fact, that is where it is observed the most. Weight has little to do with malnutrition actually. An overweight person who eats a diet high in processed food and low in fruits and vegetables can be at just as large of a risk for malnutrition as an anorexic that doesn’t consume adequate nutrition either.

When it comes to portion sizes we tend to think that a little bit more here or there doesn’t really matter… until we think about it this way: just 100 extra calories per day for one year will result in a 10 pound weight gain throughout that year. It adds up quickly!

Here are a few easy ways to remember measurement equivalents:

  • 1 tsp = tip of your finger
  • 1 tbsp = pad of your thumb
  • 1/4 cup = size of a large egg
  • 1/2 cup = cupped hand
  • 1 cup = tennis ball

Because I believe that the only way we can make a change is through education, take a look at what an actual serving really looks like. Here’s a chart from that  makes it a little bit easier to remember:

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So how can you make this happen?
This is where this handy little tool comes in…

Disclaimer: I was provided a free PortionMate product to use in order to adequately review this product. The information included in this post are my own personal opinions and professional knowledge. I was not compensated for my time. 
Depending on where you are, here is my Tip of the Week Tuesday and  a few suggestions on how to ensure you are eating the correct portion sizes:
  1. At home, use measuring cups, measuring spoons or PortionMate (detailed below) for a few weeks (or longer if needed) to see the difference in what is accurate compared to what you normal eat.
  2. When eating food with a label, be sure to read the label to determine how many servings are in the particular food.
  3. When dining out, it is safe to assume that you are being served at least double the portion size that you actually need. As soon as your server brings out your dish ask that they also bring out a to-go box to take half of your meal home for a later meal.
So what is PortionMate?
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According to the folks at PortionMate, it is the “easiest way to measure healthy portions.” It is an accurate meal and snack measuring tool to help you better determine accurate portion sizes. Included in the PortionMate package are a set of six color-coded rings along with a nutrition and meal planning guide with proper color-coding listed, as well as carbohydrate and calorie counts for over 500 whole foods. All you have to do is place the proper ring down on your plate and then fill it with the food you plan on eating. This takes the guess work out of whether or not you are eating too much and over time you will be able to knew exactly how much you should be eating!
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When I first received my set of PortionMate rings, I put my own knowledge to the test. I placed what I thought would be a serving of pasta on a plate and then put the proper ring around it only to find that I was off by about double! That’s approximately 100 extra calories! It was quite eye-opening.
For someone serious about losing weight and controlling portion sizes, I think that this product would be very beneficial. Targeted especially to Diabetics looking to more accurately control carbohydrate intake as well, this product would be a great teaching tool for not only diabetics but those interested in weight loss as well!
If you are interested in this product, you can purchase yours here or you can enter to win one today! The kind folks over at PortionMate have agreed to provide one lucky reader a product giveaway! Here are the guidelines to enter:
  1. ‘Like’ The Gypsy Dietitian on Facebook as well as subscribe in the top right corner above (if you already have, awesome!)
  2. Leave a comment below telling us about the food that you tend to over estimate portion sizes the most. For me, it’s definitely pasta!

Have an awesome day!

Good health!



Millicent Jones October 29, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Of course I already follow on facebook and subscribe!!!

Millicent Jones October 29, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Pasta and rice for sure! Most grains in general I way over estimate. After all they are def my favorite food group.

Kaylin October 29, 2013 at 5:08 pm

The food I tend to over estimate on portion sizes is any protein. Especially some really great homemade crockpot pulled pork! Oh so yummy…

Jessica Z October 29, 2013 at 6:00 pm

I tend to overestimate my protein :/ I love fish and chicken, but I am sure I eat too a bigger portion than I should. I also subscribe and follow on Facebook 🙂

Suzanne October 29, 2013 at 6:13 pm

I over estimate cereal and pasta!

Suzanne October 29, 2013 at 6:15 pm

I mean overestimate**** 🙂

Anna October 29, 2013 at 9:41 pm

I always over estimate on cereal!

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