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Right-Size Your Portions

How to choose that perfect portion size for you!


Nashville, Ark. – How is your New Year’s diet going? Do you feel satisfied? Have you given up because it is too rigid? Maybe it is time to evaluate your portion sizes. The food and drinks you have each day play an important role in calorie balance. Most people eat and drink more when they are served larger portions. This may mean you are taking in too many calories making it difficult to lose weight.

So how much is a portion? A portion is how much food you choose to eat at one time. A serving size is the amount of food listed on a product’s food label. It is easier to have healthful portion sizes when you match your portion size to the suggested serving size.

Here are some tips to help you have better portion control:

  • Eat a healthy snack when you feel hungry. This way you avoid overeating during your next meal. Some suggestions for healthy snacks include popcorn, cheese sticks, low-fat yogurt, peanut butter with whole-grain crackers, unsalted nuts, and sliced vegetables with low-fat dressing.
  • Try to eat meals at regular times. Skipping meals or leaving large gaps of time between meals may lead you to eat more the next time you eat.
  • Eat slowly. Get in the habit of putting your fork down between bites. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to determine your stomach is full.
  • Listen to your stomach. Stop eating when you are just starting to get the full sensation. Don’t wait until you get the “stuffed” sensation.
  • Know the size of your dishes. If you have large plates, bowls, and glasses, it is easy to fill them up and eat large portions. Use smaller dishes to control portion sizes.
  • Split your meal when you eat out. You can share the other half with a friend or put it in a carryout box as soon as your food arrives at the table. You will need to get in the habit of asking for that to-go box as soon as you order.
  • Be aware of serving sizes. Take the amount of food that is equal to one serving according to the food label and eat it off a plate. You may need to measure the amount of the serving size for a while. Eventually you will be able to recognize how much a serving size is.
  • When cooking in large batches, freeze food that you will not serve right away. This way, you will not be tempted to finish eating the whole batch before it goes bad. And you will have another meal ready for that day when you don’t feel like cooking.

Many Americans eat too much! Control your portion sizes and you will go a long way to having a healthier lifestyle!

For more information on healthy eating or portion sizes, contact the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse. You might also want to receive the EHC newsletter which announces upcoming programs related to health and well-being. You do not need to be an EH member to receive the newsletter; however, some programs are designed for Extension Homemakers.

Recipe of the Week

This recipe is a great way to add fresh vegetables to your diet. Broccoli is a cold weather plant; therefore, you can find some good deals at the grocery store. A serving size of this recipe is ½ cup.

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

  • 3 cups fresh broccoli florets

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese

  1.    Heat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a bowl, toss broccoli with olive oil.
  3. Place broccoli on a large baking sheet, and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast in oven for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove broccoli from oven, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  6. Return to oven to bake for 5 minutes.
  7. Yield: 6 servings
  1. Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 70, Fat 6g, Protein 3g, Carbohydrate 3g, Fiber 1g, Sodium 265mg


By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.