Fresh ideas for portion control

I’m on the less is more side of the portion argument.  As a whole, Americans consume too much food and I strongly believe over-sized portions are to blame.  If you’ve ever seen vintage tableware, you night notice that the dinner plates are smaller (9″) than their modern versions.  Today, eating off a 12” plate is the norm.  And the food is piled high.

Socially, we’re led to believe that more=value. Think Costco bulk packs and restaurant serving size.

Large portions are everywhere. Restaurants, especially, are huge serving culprits.   Personally, I can’t even make it through the children’s meal without leftovers.  My young son eats more than I do if given the opportunity. He likes to eat. I like that about him but I’m a mom and sometimes I have to pull back the food. Trust me; he’s getting plenty to eat!

Most kids have no problem with starches and will gladly eat a meal comprised of 50% garlic bread.  Other kids are meat, no veggies kind of folks.  It’s our job to create a better balance.  It is possible to create healthier eating habits at the family table.

So what is the right balance?

According to the USDA and the ADA

  • ½ vegetables
  • ¼ startches/carbs
  • ¼ protein/meat

These are good ratios but you have to decide what is right for your own family food culture. It is more important to introduce healthy portions than stick to any one particular diet theory. Following are some ideas to help keep your family on track.


  1. NO SERVING DISHES ON TABLE.  It only encourages over eating.
  2. EAT LESS MEAT.  I know it’s hard to believe, but 1 pound of meat feeds a family of four.
  3. LEAVE THE TABLE A LITTLE HUNGRY.  Your body will train itself to eat less.
  4. CUT DOWN ON SALT. Studies show that we have a hard time saying no to salty food.
  5. COOK!  When you cook, you can control the portions and the ingredients.
  6. KEEP IT UNPROCESSED. Fresh, simple ingredients nourish us instead of addict us. This week, try to get rid of 3 processed foods in your kitchen. Start with boxed macaroni!
  7. EAT MORE VEGETABLES.  It’s hard to over eat fresh vegetables. Your stomach will be full long before the calories have exceeded their limit.
  8. NO SECONDS. I know, sometimes you want to lick the serving dish. Try to refrain from loading up on seconds. Give it ten minutes. If you really want more, limit it to a couple of spoonfuls and not another whole plate.
  9. USE SMALLER PLATES Try 9” dinner plates
  10. GET ORGANIZED! Plan out meals using good vegetable-meat-starch-fat ratios

I’m not talking about anything drastic. Pick just one of those ten and work through them at a comfortable pace.

How have you been able to keep yourself and your family from over eating?

– Written by Melissa