serving size

Sometimes the portion size and serving size are the same, but most of the times they are completely different! Let's figure out the right amount of food to put on your plate to portion control how much you eat.

Do you know how much you're really eating? Sometimes it's difficult to discern whether the portions we are eating are the correct serving size for our nourishing needs. Portion sizes have expanded radically throughout the years, contributing to the rising obesity rate! 

  • Adults today consume 300 more calories every day than they did in 1985.
  • Portion sizes have increased dramatically in the last 40 years.
  • We used to eat out substantially more than we used to.

Understanding healthy portions can be hard. Here's the reason:

  • Most of us don't have idea what a healthy portion is.
  • Restaurants offer extras like breads, chips and different appetizers that include additional calories, sodium and fat yet come up short on any healthful advantage.
  • Some meals have portions that are sufficient for at least two or more people.
  • A lot of foods and drinks are priced lower but packaged in larger sizes to sell more.
So, what's the difference between portion size and serving size?


Portion is how much food you choose to eat at one time, whether in a restaurant, from a package, or at home. A portion size can vary from meal to meal. For example, at home you may serve yourself two small pancakes in one portion, but at a restaurant, you may get a large stack of pancakes as one portion. A portion size may also be bigger than a serving size. For example, the serving size on the Nutrition Facts label for your favorite cereal may be 1 cup, but you may pour yourself 1½ cups in a bowl.

A Serving Size  is a standard amount of a food, such as a cup or an ounce. Serving sizes can help you when choosing foods and when comparing like items while shopping, but they are not recommendations for how much of a certain food to eat.

When we understand the difference, it's easy to decide the amount to serve and simpler to show kids the contrast between the two.  

How can we eat and serve smaller portions?

When cooking at home: Offer the right "serving" to every member of the family, at that point set the additional food aside. Save leftovers for another meal.

When eating out: to keep your portion sizes under control, try ordering one or two small appetizers instead of a large entrée. Or, you could share an entrée with a friend, or eat just half and ask for a take-out container for the rest. Put the leftovers in the fridge as soon as possible. Then enjoy them the next day for lunch or dinner.

When ordering takeout at home: Eat one piece of pizza rather than two, and order a small instead of a medium to share with your family so the pieces are smaller! 

Watching movies at home or at the theater: Don't eat while sitting in front of the TV or a film or when you're on the PC. It's harder to control the amount you're eating if you don't focus on what you're putting in your mouth, and when. At the cinema, share a container of popcorn, and stay away from the free-refill tubs and skip the candy.

At snack time: Never eat directly from the bag or box. Measure out snacks, including veggies and fruits, into perfect portion sizes before offering them to your children.

Every time: Tracking your calories helps you manage your weight. It helps you to understand what the suitable serving size is so you can effectively estimate the calories in your portions, especially if you eat out a lot. Use a food journal to help you to pay attention to what exactly you're eating, how much and how often!

These are serving sizes:

  • 1 piece of bread
  • ½ cup rice or pasta (cooked)
  • 1 small piece of fruit (super-large apples are 2+ servings)
  • 1 wedge of melon
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup milk or yogurt
  • 60 grams of cheddar (about the size of a domino)
  • 85-120 grams of meat, poultry or fish (this is about the size of a deck of cards)

To help you with to portion control your meals, click here to download our FREE portion lunch box ideas!