Serving size and portion size are related, yet hold very different meanings when it comes to meal planning.
Serving size defines the technical part of the quantity we eat. It’s the standardized amount. For instance, a nutrition label or the plate method provides information based on a standard serving. A label, for instance, might provide information based on ⅔ cup serving. So ⅔ cup is the serving size.
Portion size is the quantity one actually consumes. Portion size can be a single serving or multiple servings. For instance, a nutrition label might provide information based on a 1 cup serving, but if you chose to eat 1.5 cups, then 1.5 cups becomes the portion size consumed.
Seeing is believing
Visual tools can be quite useful to determine portion size in the absence of a food scale or measuring cups, such as at a restaurant or a social gathering. Try quantifying a meal like this, “I ate a light bulb size of veggies, a baseball size of spaghetti with a deck of cards size meat!
Here is a chart that uses common visuals to better estimate portion size
Next time you track your food, tell us about that light bulb of legumes, baseball of veggies and deck of fish you ate! Your waiter might give you a blank look; at Steady we’ll know exactly what you’re talking about.