I did not coin the term “portion distortion” but I wish I had; it calls attention to our changing views and social norms about what is considered a normal amount of food to eat at one sitting.
You may have heard that restaurant portions are enough for two people, but they have actually grown large enough that one serving would be the right amount for three people. That means we need to save 2/3 to take home with us or share the meal three ways. For example, a burger at Applebee’s or TGI Friday’s can give you enough calories, fat, and sodium for more than half your day’s needs (or your whole day’s worth if you are inactive and over 60).
Even if you do not eat out often, the portion distortion of restaurants have a carry-over effect, in that now people expect portions at home to be similarly large. Dinner plates have gotten larger, too, making it difficult to judge how much to serve ourselves.
To reset your visual image of portion sizes, compare approximately 1 serving of each of these to the item listed:
Beans and legumes: computer mouse
Meat, poultry and fish: the palm of your hands or a deck of cards
Fruit: tennis ball
Cheese: wine cork
Peanut butter: golf ball
Grains: baseball or hockey puck
Check out other good visual tools here and here.
Just One Thing to do: Enjoy food, real food, good food. Just don’t go overboard on portion sizes.