Contrary to what we might believe when we sit down to a meal or a snack, a serving size is NOT how much food we’re given or how much comes in a package. For instance, 1 serving of ice cream is a 1/2 cup.  Seriously – measure out a 1/2 cup and try to contain your laughter.  Who eats just a 1/2 cup of ice cream?!  That’s barely enough to get my mouth dirty.

Companies want us to feel like we’re getting a great value for our money – the larger the amount of food served or given, the more perceived value we give it.  Unfortunately, this value is drastically affecting our waistlines.  Studies illustrate over and over again the more food we’re given, the more we will eat.  (There’s a fabulous book by Brian Wansink called Mindless Eating that’s quite insightful and entertaining).

For instance:

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THE BAGEL:  Have you noticed that bagels have gotten so big many of them don’t even have holes in them anymore?  They have belly buttons.

Twenty years ago a bagel was 3″ in diameter and consisted of 140 calories.  Today it’s 350 calories.

On the left is what we typically see.  On the right is an actual serving size (that’s a hockey puck for reference).

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THE BURGER:  Twenty years ago it was 333 calories.  Today it’s 590.  The Monster Burger is a staggering 1420 calories.

 

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This is Hardees’ Monster Burger.

 

I just threw up in my mouth a little.

 

 

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Here’s what a burger should look like:

 

 

 

And what’s a burger without FRENCH FRIES?  Twenty years ago you were served 2.4 oz which gave you 210 calories.  Today you can be given 6.9 oz for 610 calories.  Value meal!

On the left:  approximate fry size of yesteryear.  On the right:  Super Size fries – 610 calories worth.  I didn’t put the tag line on the photo, but it should probably be printed as a warning on the package.

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SPAGHETTI WITH SAUCE:  Twenty years ago we were given 1 cup of pasta/sauce with 3 meatballs for a total of 500 calories.  Today we’re the recipients of 2 cups of pasta/sauce with 3 meatballs for 1,025 calories.  Most likely accompanied by all-you-can-eat garlic bread.  One cup of pasta is equivalent to about the size of a tennis ball.

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Is it any surprise our waistlines are bigger than they were 20 years ago?

What should we do?  We could memorize serving sizes of everything.  OR a much simpler way is to be a bit more mindful while eating:  ONLY EAT TO THE POINT OF FEELING SATISFIED.  Many of us were taught to clean our plates.  When we were served an appropriate amount of food this was not a problem.  When we’re being served one meal that contains the same amount of calories we should be eating in an entire day, it’s a problem.

Let your stomach overrule your eyeballs.  What you’re given is not necessarily what you need.