Sticking to Serving Sizes

The phrase, “everything in moderation,” never really applied to my life until I decided to become a clean  and more conscious eater. I have had my days as slave to the diets that dictated what I could and could not have and once felt the chains of counting of calories shackling me to a life of deprivation.

Grim picture, right?

Before cleaning up my diet and my attitude towards eating, I actually thought I knew how to decode a nutritional label and knowing how to read it was not all that concerning to me. How hard could it be to figure out if a product was healthy or not by simply reading facts listed for me on the back? Well, I learned through reading closely and paying new attention to the serving size, often overlooked in the past, that this single digit can tell an everyday shopper a lot more than they expected from a product.

Food companies have their consumer down to a science. They are pros at throwing their consumers off with jargon scripted to make anyone believe they are only consuming five grams of sugar or 1.5 grams of fat. But if you look at the serving size to those products, then how much sugar are you really digesting?

Sure, it’s easy to only consume two grams of saturated fat, especially when the serving size is only 2 tablespoons. It is almost a guarantee that very few people are actually taking a tablespoon measurement to the lunch table with them.

Food portions have become the key to my healthy diet. Of course, we all want to fill ourselves up with the products that are the best for us, but we also want to make sure that the right amount is on the plate.

Serving sizes don’t exist to use deprivation as a tactic against us; they serve as a measuring mechanism to inform the consumer if something is really healthy or if the packaging is too good to be true.

How To Master The Serving Size

Become a Box Turner

Turning into a conscious eater when it comes to serving sizes is a matter of being willing to turn the box. Leave no box unturned, as I like to say. We cannot rely on the fancy packaging in order to tell us everything we need to know about a product. The quotes on the front of the package only apply to one serving, and you might be surprised to see how many servings are really measured into a single bag or box.

Pack It Away Before Digging In

This has become a habit of mine that has saved me a lot of calories and trips to the store to buy bigger jeans. Before you even begin indulging in a meal, request a carry container and put half of the meal inside. Restaurants normally put more than two times the food serving on a single plate and we all know how difficult it can be to resist that extra food when it is just sitting there in front of us. Instead of feeling guilty after a meal for spooning four servings, pack half away before indulging and be intent on enjoying the rest.

Snack From Your Seat, NOT From The Cabinet

This is the trouble spot where a lot of serving rules can quickly be thrown away along with the effort from that morning workout. When you make the decision to have a midday snack, pour the right serving amount into a bowl or cup and take that amount to your seat. When you snacking from of a bag that contains multiple servings it is almost too easy to stop calculating the servings in your head and quickly consume two or three without even trying.

Befriend The Serving Size Instead of Criticizing It

It is easy to want to curse the serving size on the back of the box but it really does exist for your benefit. Take it as a personal note written right to you telling you that you only need this amount to be full. If you already know just by one look at the label that one serving will not make you full then grab a more wholesome snack. I know that 10-13 chips, the average serving size a snack food, is not going to satisfy me in any way. It would take ten seconds before I head back to the cabinet for more. Instead of sticking to the meager serving of something that isn’t even good for me to begin with, I find a new food altogether. It’s better to be full and satisfied by a food with all the right stuff packed into it than to be left hungry over something that was never nutritional to begin with.

Photo by Ayelie


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