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Does Size Matter? Definitely. Important Tips for Controlling Portion Sizes

Does Size Matter? Definitely. Important Tips for Controlling Portion Sizes


You may think you're doing everything you can to control your weight, but in this world of super-sized meals, if you don't have a good grasp of proper portion sizes, you could be sabotaging your efforts without even realizing it. This is especially true if you have undergone LAP-BAND® or gastric bypass surgery, since you need to limit your food intake after bariatric surgery.

Changes in Serving Sizes

Studies have shown that the average serving sizes at restaurants have grown over the years. Larger plates at restaurants, the recent options to "super-size" or "go large" in fast food restaurants, the increasing popularity of fattening appetizers, and many other changes have affected the amount of food we tend to eat at restaurants.

In fact, most meals served at restaurants are the proper portion size ... for two people. Many times, the amount of calories consumed at a dinner out equals more than the amount of calories needed for the entire day.

Sizing Up Your Portions - Visual Guide

Many times, you don't have access to measuring cups and scales while dining. Instead of trying to carry these items around in your purse or carrier bag, you can estimate the correct portion size by comparing your food with every day items. Below are some common foods and their corresponding visual cues.


Serving Size

Visual Cue

Baked Potato

1 Cup

Baseball or Woman's Fist


1 Slice

Cassette Tape

Canned Fruit or Vegetables

1/2 Cup

Rounded Handful or 1/2 Baseball


1 Cup

Baseball or Woman's Fist


1 1/2 oz

6 dice

Fruit (whole)

Medium-sized piece

Baseball or Woman's Fist

Grilled/Baked Fish

3 oz


Ice Cream

1/2 Cup

Rounded Handful or 1/2 Baseball

Meat or Poultry

3 oz

Deck of Cards or Palm of Hand

Milk or Yogurt

1 Cup

Baseball or Woman's Fist


1 Tsp

Tip of Thumb

Pancake or Waffle

1 Piece

Compact Disc

Peanut Butter

2 Tbsp

Ping Pong Ball

Pretzels or Other Snack Foods

1 oz

Rounded Handful or 1/2 Baseball

Raisins or Other Dried Fruit

1/4 Cup

Large Egg or Golf Ball

Rice or Pasta (cooked)

1/2 Cup

Rounded Handful or 1/2 Baseball

Salad Greens

1 Cup

Baseball or Woman's Fist

Sliced Fruit

1/2 Cup

Rounded Handful or 1/2 baseball

By using these cues, you can better judge proper serving sizes wherever you are.

Post-bariatric Surgery Portion Control Tips

In addition to watching serving sizes, if you are a post-bariatric surgery patient, you will also need to be aware of other tips, including:

  • Do not snack
  • Eat food low in fat and sugar, but high in protein
  • Take a multi-vitamin to ensure you are getting all of your nutrients

Keep It under Control

It doesn't matter whether you are losing weight after bariatric surgery, following a diet to lose weight, or simply trying to stay healthy, portion control is a main component of any healthy weight-loss or weight-management program. Remember, just because it was served on your plate doesn't mean you have to eat it.

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