Watch your waistline! Food portion sizes have continued to increase, and so have our waistlines. Twenty years ago, the average cheeseburger was about 330 calories. Today, the average cheeseburger is about 590 calories, in part because of its size. Many “single-serve” food and beverage items are more than one serving size. The popular 20 ounce bottle is actually two and a half servings (8 ounces per serving), and unless the content is water, contains unnecessary calories! Being aware of serving sizes can help in your mission to live a healthy lifestyle.

When battling large portion sizes, even healthy options, it can be difficult to lose or maintain a healthy weight. The key, and often the challenge, is portion control. Although exercise burns calories and makes our bodies more “fuel-efficient” and heart healthy, eating less also contributes to body weight. Even a small portion reduction can yield positive results and help you in working towards a healthy body weight.

If you struggle with portion control, consider what you are eating. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, diets containing an adequate amount of protein have been shown to reduce fatigue, support muscle health and contribute to healthy aging, as well as play a role in weight loss. Eating more protein will fill you up and give you the energy you need to control your portions!

Did You Know?

  • Every 5 years, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services updates the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Evidence suggests that a consistent consumption of vegetables and fruits decreases chances of heart attack and stroke (USDA).
  • The average person needs 50 to 65 grams of protein each day. This is the amount in four ounces of meat plus a cup of cottage cheese (NIH).

Tips for Daily Intake

Recommendations vary depending on age, sex, and level of physical activity.

  1. Fruits – One to two cups daily. About a quarter of your plate should be fruits.
  2. Vegetables – One to three cups daily. Vegetables should take up more than a quarter of your plate.
  3. Grains – Three to eight ounces daily. At least half of the grains you consume on a daily basis should be whole grains. About a quarter of your plate should be grains.
  4. Proteins – Two to six ounces daily. Should include 8 ounces of cooked seafood per week. About a quarter of your plate should be protein.
  5. Dairy – Two to three cups daily. Dairy includes foods made from milk and retain their calcium. Additional options include calcium-fortified options, canned fish, soy products, some beans and leafy greens.
  6. Oils – Three teaspoons. Includes canola, corn, cottonseed, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, and sunflower oils.

Sources: Sources: United States Department of Agriculture, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation, American Dietetic Association, LifeWork Strategies EAP, and Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.