It’s Picture this. It’s the weekend. You have the night to yourself. You can finally watch that movie you’ve been waiting to see. Why not have a snack while you watch? Cookies it is! After a long week, you’ve earned it. The movie ends, and to your surprise, there’s nothing left in the cookie box but crumbs. The movie was so good; you hardly noticed your late-night snack disappearing.
It’s easy to overeat. Add an effortless activity, and you won’t even notice as your calorie intake steadily increases. Done too many times and you’ll see an increase in weight as well. Late-night snacking isn’t the only way overeating and weight-gain can occur. Lots of people eat more than they should due to a lack of knowledge about serving sizes. Understanding recommended serving sizes can help you eat the proper amounts for your body and your health.
What is a recommended serving?
A recommended serving size refers to a standardized amount of food that people can use to count food amounts. Recommended servings are generally accepted by health care professionals and the fitness community alike. It gives us a common language for calculating food intake, like our daily intake of fruits and vegetables.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) suggest that adults over 18 consume 2 to 4 cups of vegetables per day. If ½ cup of cooked vegetables counts as a recommended serving, that’s a minimum of about four daily servings of cooked vegetables. Even more specific than the DGA, Cederquist Medical Wellness Center uses resting metabolic rate to determine your dietary needs. A Resting Metabolic Rate test, conducted in our office, tells us your exact calorie needs based on what your body uses in a resting state (that’s without any exercise). Our dietitians can further determine how those calories should be distributed across food groups using recommended serving sizes. Our patients gain an accurate body calorie reading allowing them to leave with a personalized eating plan and knowledge of recommended servings that will meet their physical needs.
What counts as a recommended serving?
Take a look at any Nutrition Facts label (NFL), and you’ll find details on serving amounts, the number of servings per container and nutrition information based on a single serving. It’s important to note that serving information on the NFL is based on what people typically eat, not suggested servings. Instead, consumers have to eat and shop with a basic knowledge of recommended serving sizes. Serving recommendations vary by food type. Here are some general rules for single-serving equivalents:
½ cup cooked cereal, grain, pasta, corn, potato
1 ounce dry grains (e.g., rice, oatmeal) or cereal flakes
1 slice bread
1 cup raw vegetables
½ cup cooked vegetables or 100% vegetable juice
½ cup fresh fruit or 100% fruit juice
¼ cup dried fruit
1 medium fruit
1 ounce cooked lean meat (e.g., poultry, beef, pork, seafood)
¼ cup cooked beans
1 ounce nuts or seeds
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 cup milk or yogurt
1½ ounces cheese
Dressings, Oils and Spreads
2 tablespoons salad dressing
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon jam/jelly
1 teaspoon oil or butter
Serving Sizes for Weight Success
Knowledge of recommended serving sizes is essential for making healthy food choices. You can avoid overeating any one food by considering serving sizes throughout the day. This can help decrease overall calorie intake and result in long-term weight loss. So, go ahead, enjoy the cookies! But pay attention to the number you’re consuming. If you need more help with serving sizes or nutrition, Cederquist Medical Wellness Center is here to help. Give us a ring to book an appointment!