X

Dear ProCon.org readers, we need your help. The average cost for ProCon.org to educate 26 people with nonpartisan research on important issues is $1. The average taxi fare in America is about $10. We are asking everyone who visits ProCon.org to donate the cost of one taxi ride – at least $10 – to this important charity. Without your support, the programs at ProCon.org that serve millions of students, teachers, and others cannot exist. Our charitable work is funded entirely by your donations. Thank you and happy holidays!
Dear ProCon.org readers, we need your help. The average cost for ProCon.org to educate 26 people with nonpartisan research on important issues is $1. The average taxi fare in America is about $10. We are asking everyone who visits ProCon.org to donate the cost of one taxi ride – at least $10 – to this important charity. Without your support, the programs at ProCon.org that serve millions of students, teachers, and others cannot exist. Our charitable work is funded entirely by your donations.

This website exists to give people a real understanding of issues from both sides – not a biased echo chamber version of understanding issues. ProCon.org, a nonprofit public charity, provides – for free and without ads – nonpartisan facts, well researched pros and cons, and a platform for critical thinking on today’s most important issues. Please support this work with your tax-deductible donation in 2016. Time is running out, and the country needs ProCon.org more than ever. Thank you and happy holidays!
SUPPORT PROCON.ORGX



Portion Sizes: How Big or Small Should They Be?



According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC, see graphic to the right), the average American portion size has increased dramatically since the 1950s with the average restaurant meal being four times as large. American adults weigh, on average, 26 pounds more today than in the 1950s. A Jan. 2013 Public Health and Nutrition Journal study found that 96% of entrees at chain restaurants exceeded dietary guidelines for fat, sodium, and saturated fat--some coming close to exceeding recommended daily intake maximums for sodium with just one meal. See below for the recommended serving sizes of common foods according to the CDC, FDA, and other experts. 

Breakfast Foods

Lunch & Dinner Foods

Snack & Dessert Foods

cdc the new abnormal portion sizes 1950s


Breakfast Foods
one serving of cereal the volume of a wine glass
cereal portion size should be the size of arrow portion size wine glass portion size


one bagel a hockey puck
bagel portion size should be the size of arrow portion size hockey puck portion size


one muffin a light bulb
muffin portion size should be the size of arrow portion size light bulb portion size


one serving of pancakes a CD
pancake portion size should be the size of arrow portion size cd portion size

one serving of butter a Scrabble tile
butter portion size should be the size of arrow portion size scrabble tile portion size


one serving of juice a hockey puck
juice portion size should be the size of arrow portion size hockey puck portion size

one serving of waffles a CD
waffle portion size should be the size of arrow portion size cd portion size




Lunch & Dinner Foods
one serving of steak a deck of cards or the palm of your hand
steak portion size should be the size of arrow portion size deck of cards portion


one serving of fish a checkbook
fish portion size should be the size of arrow portion size checkbook portion size
 

one serving of dry spaghetti a quarter
spghetti portion size should be the size of arrow portion size quarter portion size


one serving of cooked rice or pasta a tennis ball
rice portion size should be the size of arrow portion size tennis ball portion size


 
one medium baked potato a computer mouse
baked potato portion size should be the size of arrow portion size computer mouse portion size
 

one dinner roll a yo-yo
dinner roll portion size should be the size of arrow portion size yo yo portion size


one serving of chopped raw vegetables   a baseball
chopped vegetables portion size should be the size of arrow portion size baseball portion size


 
one serving of salad dressing a shot glass
salad dressing portion size should be the size of arrow portion size shot glass portion size


one serving of cooked vegetables a billiard ball
cooked vegetables portion size should be the size of arrow portion size billiard ball portion size
   
one serving of oil one die
oil portion size should be the size of arrow portion size die portion size


one serving of chopped raw fruit a baseball or woman's fist
chopped fruit portion size should be the size of arrow portion size baseball portion size
 

 
a hamburger patty a mayonnaise jar lid
hamburger patty portion size should be the size of arrow portion size mayonnaise jar lid portion size
 

 
one serving of beans a billiard ball
beans portion size should be the size of arrow portion size billiard ball portion size
 

 
one serving of mashed potatoes half an apple
mashed potatoes portion size should be the size of arrow portion size half apple portion size
 

 
one serving of lasagna two hockey pucks

lasagna portion size
should be the size of arrow portion size two hockey pucks portion size


Snack & Dessert Foods

one serving of cheese six dice
cheese portion size should be the size of arrow portion size six dice portion size

one serving of pretzels or chips   a tennis ball
pretzel portion size should be the size of arrow portion size tennis ball portion size


   
one serving of peanut butter   a ping-pong ball
peanut butter portion size should be the size of arrow portion size ping pong ball portion size


one serving of nuts or dried fruit a golf ball
nut portion sizes should be the size of arrow portion size golf ball portion size

one serving of ice cream a tennis ball
ice cream portion size should be the size of arrow portion size tennis ball portion size



Sources:

Huffington Post, "The New (Ab)Normal: Portion Sizes Today vs. In the 1950s (Infographic)," www.huffingtonpost.com, May 23, 2012

Tanya Mancini, "Portion Size," www.thatsfit.com, Dec. 3, 2009

Men's Health Editors, "12 Easy Ways to Estimate Serving Sizes," www.menshealth.com (accessed Feb. 13, 2013)

Nicole Nichols, "The Portion Distortion Guide," www.sparkpeople.com (accessed Feb. 13, 2013)

US National Library of Medicine, US Department of Health and Human Services, and National Institutes of Health, "Portion Size," www.nlm.nih.gov, Jan. 24, 2013

Jackie Wicks, "How to Learn Portion Control... ...A Guide to Quickly Teach You the Basics of Portion Control," www.peertrainer.com (accessed on Feb. 28, 2013)

Helen W. Wu and Roland Sturm, "What's on the Menu? A Review of the Energy and Nutritional Content of US Chain Restaurant Menus," Public Health Nutrition website, Jan. 2013