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Jane Kortbein, Tomah Health's Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes educator talks about portion control

Nutrition Notes June 2017

Nutrition Notes – June 2017

Joan Kortbein
Registered Dietitian
Certified Diabetes Educator

Food companies and restaurant owners have studied their customers and they know what will make us want to eat their food – and a lot of it. Since these tactics that cause us to eat more are not related to our actual level of hunger, the extra food often leads to extra weight. Here are some common techniques that inflates our portions:

Packaging – We as consumers pay more attention to the height of the packages rather than the width.  We assume taller packages have more in them and we are more likely to buy them because we think we are getting a “deal”.  Surprisingly, we are more careful with our portion of food from taller packages because we think the taller container has more food in it; we tend to eat more from wider, shorter packages because our perception is that these packages have less food in them.

Serving Bowls/Spoons – The larger the serving bowls and spoons are at restaurant buffets the more we put on our plate – some studies showing as much as 50% more!

Labels –Think about the size of the small and large drinks at your favorite restaurants. We tend to consume more from packages that are labeled as “small” because we trust we are eating a small portion – and evidently small calories as well.  We can look at two different packages that are the same size, but the one labeled as “small” is the one we are more likely to buy.

Pictures of Food on the Package – Manufacturers have also found the picture of their food on the package influences how much we eat; the more food in the picture, the more food on our plate.  For example, if the picture on the front of a cracker box shows a lot of crackers… we eat a lot of crackers.

We Want What We See – We are more likely to buy food when we see it. Restaurants often put plates of their daily specials in front so we can see them and billboards are loaded with pictures of foods rather than just restaurant logos.  Sales for ice cream increase thirty percent when the frozen treat is moved from the stainless steel freezer to the glass case. This is the same with the food in your own kitchen or at work.  Foods in see-through containers and plastic bags are constant temptations and often will increase overall food consumption.

Portions of Those Around Us –We tend to take larger portions of food when the people around us are taking larger portions.  This tends to be more common for women than men, but we all tend to compare and/or measure what those around us are eating when deciding how much we will eat.

Here is a great summer salad to eat at home or at your celebrations!

Spinach Strawberry Salad

  • 2 large bunches fresh spinach
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 large package strawberries
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • ⅓ cup olive or canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar

Wash spinach and strawberries. Remove stems and quarter the strawberries. Combine spinach and strawberries in large bowl. In separate bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar and sugar. Add almonds and poppy seeds and stir to combine. Pour dressing over spinach and toss to coat right before eating. Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition analysis per serving: 200 calories, 14g fat, 5g protein, 18g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 70mg sodium

Read Past Editions of Nutrition Notes CLICK HERE

Tomah Health