According to a recent experiment done by Consumer Reports, most people do not have an accurate understanding of serving sizes. But, gaining an understanding of recommended serving sizes can help consumers’ wallets, as well as their waistlines.
Americans think serving sizes are much bigger than they actually are
When asked to pour a serving size of cereal into a bowl, 124 grocery store shoppers poured a serving size much larger than the recommended serving size on the box. About 92% of shoppers poured too much into the bowl, no matter the size of the bowl.
The FDA wants to change serving sizes to reflect what people eat
To combat this issue, the FDA wants to adjust serving sizes to be more like what people think the serving sizes are, in order to show people the true nutritional value of what they are eating. But opponents of this view say that this will only encourage people to eat more.
So what’s the solution? According to Consumer Reports, a better approach is to ‘make label reading a habit’ and truly understand what the label means.
How do you do this? You could get out the ‘ole measuring cup, or you could use the simple guide below of household items that correspond to approximate portion sizes.
How to approximate portion sizes:
- 1/4 cup – 1 egg
- 1/2 cup – computer mouse
- 3/4 cup – an 8 ball
- 1 cup – a baseball
- 1 portion of meat – 1 deck of cards
- 1 portion of cheese – 4 dice
- 1 portion of grains – 1/2 a baseball
- 1 portion of fruits or vegetables – 1 baseball
- 1 portion of leafy greens – 1 tennis ball
As we can see from the above examples, not all foods are created equal. You can eat twice as many fruits and vegetables before reaching a serving size as you can a serving of grains. Be sure to check food labels to know how to eat healthy!
Read more: 25 best foods to eat for a healthy heart