A ‘portion’ is the quantum of food you choose to eat at any one time. A ‘serving’ is the recommended quantum of a particular you may eat at any one time. The ‘distortion’ comes into picture because we, restaurateurs and packaged food manufacturers (the latter two for commercial reasons), confuse portion size and servings.
A ‘portion size’ is the total number of servings you may eat.
For example, according to the USDA, you may eat 2 to 3 servings of meat or beans each day. One serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards (1/2 inch thick, 3.5 inches in length and 2.5 inches wide). If you were to eat your entire day’s meat at one go, your portion size of meat would be one-and-half inches thick, 3.5 inches in length and 2.5 inches wide. If you were to have meat at lunch and dinner you could divide the meat equally or any other way you please. In which case the quantity of meat you serve yourself at each meal is your portion size. The total quantum of meat in all the portions you eat should not exceed the total recommended servings (in this case 3 servings each having the same dimensions as a deck of cards).
The problem we face is that nobody especially not the restaurateurs and packaged food manufacturers, look at the recommended servings.
The quantum of food they serve is governed purely on commercial basis. This is why you have some dinners offering “all you can eat” or ‘King’ burgers i.e. super sized burgers and so on. Have you noticed that if ask for a glass of fruit juice, the size of the glass differs from restaurant to restaurant? The quantum of food or beverage served has got absolutely no relation to the recommended daily serving size. Little wonder than we are a nation of predominantly obese people.
The only way you can truly control the quantum of food you eat is by exercising portion control. Bear in mind the total number of recommended servings and the size of each serving. Based on this, exercise control over the quantum of food you serve yourself i.e. exercise portion control.
This however is easier said than done. We therefore recommend the use of portion control plates, bowls, cups, glasses and measuring spoons. With portion control cutlery, you do not have to physically measure out the quantum of food you eat the visual marking on the plate serves to adequately guide you on the amount of food you serve yourself.
Exercising portion control is the only way to beat the confusion between portion size and serving size.
Once you have used portion control plates for a few months, you will automatically know the quantum of food you can eat. So even if restaurants super size your order, you will probably eat only the recommended portion size. Remember, restaurants work on a commercial basis, it is for you to exercise control over how much you eat and therefore, your portion size.