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Be Wise with Portion Size

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Did you know?
The average American can gain up to 3 pounds during the holidays or from going on vacation. Increased portion sizes play a big role weight gain.
Tip to try-
Use measuring cups and bowls to measure out the recommended portion size of each food you eat. You may be eating more than you think!

Anyone eating on the run or at restaurants has probably noticed that food portions have gotten larger. Portion sizes are increasing everywhere we go — at restaurants, at the supermarket and even at home!

As portion sizes have grown, so have American waistlines. Monitoring portion sizes is an easy way to eliminate extra calories, fat and sugar from your diet! 

Balancing Calories

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Avoid oversized portions.
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The United State Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate food guidance system is comprised of the new MyPlate symbol and other materials to help Americans make healthy food choices and to be active every day.  MyPlate is based on 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to help consumers make better food choices and designed to remind Americans to eat healthfully.  MyPlate illustrates the five food groups using a familiar mealtime visual, a place setting. See how to rate your plate at

Foods to Increase

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Make at least half your grains whole grains.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.

Foods to Reduce

  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals—and choose foods with lower numbers.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

Tips to Help Control Portion Sizes:

When eating at home:

  • Serve yourself using a salad plate rather than a dinner plate. The smaller your plate, the smaller your portion.
  • Avoid eating directly from the bag when snacking. Buy single serving snack foods like string cheese and popcorn.
  • Wait 10 to 15 minutes before going back for seconds. Waiting will give your body time to signal to your brain that you are full.
  • Eat sweet foods in small amounts. To reduce temptation, don't keep sweets at home.


When eating out:

  • Order an appetizer rather than a complete (or “full”) meal.
  • Share an entrée with a friend.
  • Ask the waiter to box up half of your meal prior to serving it to you and have the second half for lunch the following day.
  • Ask for double veggies rather than French fries with your meal.
  • Skip buffets.
  • Share dessert, or choose fruit instead.


Tips for Kids

  • Kids are smaller than adults and should eat smaller portions.
  • Use smaller plates for kids.
  • Don't force kids to clean their plates if they are full.
  • Portions should be about the size of the back of a fist—a child’s fist for a child’s portion
  • Start with a small portion. Children can have seconds if they are still hungry.