Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Smallie-size it

…Obviously, restaurant and fast-food portions are gimongous! There are enough fries in there to fence your house.

…They beg you to make it larger. (“Yes, supersize me, I need to buy all new clothes.”)

…HA’s kid uses a Big Gulp cup for milk. That is one big…well, you get the idea.

…People apparently are too damn dumb to know what a portion is. Taking a lead from this notion, researchers asked people how much they ate the day before. Guess what? They were too damn dumb!

…See if this helps. A meat portion is the size of a deck of cards.

...A fish portion can be the size of a checkbook.

…Two tablespoons of peanut butter = pingpong ball.

…Pancake = compact disk (3 per customer).

…Bagel = hockey puck (many are twice this or more).

…Cheese = size of four dice.

…Pasta = tennis ball. (Man, really?)

…Tip: Try measuring once. Then you will remember it.

…Those Lean Cuisines—seriously, that’s a portion.

…Focus on soups, stews, fruits, veggies. They fill you up and have lots of water.

…This one is so sad. There is a pie portion measurer you can buy. Go to Want to guess how many pieces in a pie?

…Hate to break it to you: 12.


Bill Thomasson said...

The problem is that these defintions bear no realtion to what most people mean by a portion (or, more colloquially, a "serving" or "helping"). Most people think of a full meal as a serving of meat, a serving of potato/rice/etc., a serving of veggies, and maybe a small salad. But at these portion sizes, that would be inadequate for an average-sized, reasonably active man. Or even an average-sized, reasonably active woman. The assumption seems to be that most people are going to have multiple servings at most meals. Which strikes me as silly.

The flip side is that the recommendation for five servings of veggies a day isn't as unmanageable as it seems: What most people think of as one serving actually counts as something close to two. But the effect is to make people think the recommendation is unmanageable and lead them to ignore it altogether. I wonder if that's the purpose?

Of course, none of this has much to do with those huge serving sizes you see in most restaurants. I usually manage to finish what's brought, but I'm a larger-than-average man. And even I think of it as a really big meal, without so much as thinking about getting appetizers or dessert -- which you'd think the restaurant would want to sell. Makes as little sense to me as the absurdly small "official" portion sizes.

Bill Thomasson

Star said...

Since my personal own body has learned to live on pretty little, without resorting to stored fat, I usually end up eating one item for a meal, but I agree, those nutritionist-ordered portions are SKIMPY! I once read that caterers figure 12 bites per person when planning parties. I wonder how many I eat.