Portion vs. Serving Size

“According to serving sizes, I’m a family of four.”


Serving sizes can be tricky…easily confused with portion size. The serving size is conveniently located on the nutrition label of a food. The portion size, however, is conveniently located nowhere.

Should you follow the serving size or the portion size? Let’s think about this. The serving size is a very specific measurement. If you are having a 1 oz bag of chips, the serving size is 1 oz. You eat the bag, so your portion is 1 oz. If you are having a large 12 oz bag of chips, the serving size is still 1 oz. You eat the bag, your portion is not 1 oz, but rather, it is all 12 oz. Portion sizes are confusing because it is the amount of food you choose to eat.

Is there an appropriate portion size?

Yes, and likely, that will help manage weight if that is a concern. Of consideration should be the fact that portion sizes do vary between individuals.

How do you know which portion size is appropriate then?

Check in with your appetite. Your belly and my belly are quite different in that mine needs a different portion than yours. Instead of focusing on the bagillion different external cues there are in this highly obesogenic society, turn your focus inward. Listen to your hunger and fullness to know what portion size is appropriate for you. Portion control is tough. Balance your plate to make it a bit easier! Who’s to say that man eating for a family of four didn’t need that portion? I’ll let his belly be the judge.

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