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Portion size

Portion Size & Serving Size:

A portion is the amount of food that one chooses to eat for a meal or snack.

A serving is a measured amount of food or drink, such as one slice of bread or one cup of milk.

Many foods that come as a single portion actually contain multiple servings. The Nutrition facts label on packaged foods- on the back of cans, sides of boxes etc tells you the number of servings in the container.

Portion Distortion:

Average portion sizes have grown so much over the past 20 years that sometimes the plate arrives and there's enough food for two or even three people on it.
In one day, you would consume 1595 more calories than if you had the same food at typical portions served 20 years ago. Over the course of one year, if consumed daily, the larger portions could almost amount to more than 5,00,000 extra calories.
Large portion size means, more calories which can easily add upto extra weight. One way to keep calories in check is to keep food portions no larger than the size of your fist.
It can be hard to eat or drink a healthy portion because-

  • Many people don't know what a healthy portion is.
  • Restaurants often serve large meals. Some meals have portions that are enough for two people or more
  • Food makers package foods and drinks in large size to sell more.


Portion size-20 years ago Portion size- today Portion size-20 years ago Portion size- today Portion size-20 years ago Portion size- today Portion size-20 years ago Portion size- today
(with whole milk and sugar)
45 calories
220 ml
Mocha Coffee
(with steamed whole milk and mocha syrup)
350 calories
450 ml
270 calories
5 cups
630 calories
11 cups


333 calories  


590 calories  


55 calories
1.5 inch diameter


275 calories
3.5 inch diameter

Portion size-20 years ago Portion size- today Portion size-20 years ago Portion size- today Portion size-20 years ago Portion size- today    


210 Calories
42 gm


500 calories
113 gm


85 gm


640 Calories
225 gm


210 Calories
68 gm


610 Calories
195 gm


Portion control when eating out

Take control of the amount of food that ends up on your plate by splitting a lunch with a friend or ask the wait person for a ‘to’go’ box and wrap up half your meal as soon as it’s brought to the table.

Portion control when eating in –

To minimize the temptation of a second and third helping when eating at home, serve the food on individual plates, instead of putting the serving dishes on the table. Keeping the excess food out of reach may discourage overeating.

Portion control infront of TV –

When eating or snacking infront of the TV, put the amount that you plan to eat into a bowl or container instead of eating straight from the package.It is easy to overeat when your attention is focussed on something else.

Go Ahead, spoil your Dinner-

We learned as children not to snack, before a meal for fear of spoiling your dinner. Well its time to forget that old rule . If you feel hungry between meals, eat a healthy snack, like a piece of fruit or small salad, to avoid overeating during your next meal.

Be aware of large packages-

Divide up the contents of one large package into several smaller containers to help avoid over consumption. Don’t eat straight from the package. Instead serve the food in a small bowl or container.

Out of Sight, out of Mind-

People tend to consume more when they have easy access to food. Make your home a ‘portion friendly zone’. Store tempting foods like cookies, chips or ice-cream out of immediate eyesight like on a high shelf or at the back of the freezer. Move the healthier food to the front at eye level.

Pay attention to the feeling of hunger –

Stop eating when you are satisfied, not full. If there is still food on your plate, put it away. Repeat the phrase – ‘ a moment on the lips, a year on the hips’.A simple trick to help you eat less is to use a smaller plate, bowl or glass. One cup of food on a small plate looks like more than the same cup of food on a large plate.