Weekly Challenge: Portion Control

Do you know what a serving size of a bagel looks like?  Is it this typical 6 inch bagel found in your local coffee shop?


Most of us think of a bagel as one serving of a carbohydrate.  But this 6-inch diameter bagel that is commonly sold is actually 2 servings of carbohydrates.  One portion of a bagel is 1/2 of what is sold in stores.

What about a serving of oil when you are dressing a salad or sautéing vegetables?  Is it enough to coat the salad or pan?

oil in pan

A serving size of oil is one teaspoon.  Most of us put several tablespoons into our salads and pans.

So what does this mean?

That you can make healthy food choices, but still overeat.  Portion sizes do matter for health and weight.  And while we may be telling ourselves that we are doing great on our nutrition, we may be getting more calories and fat than we realize.

This week we will focus on portion control.  Every day we will focus on different food groups.  Today we are discussing carbohydrates and healthy fats.

1 Serving of a Carbohydrate:

  • 1 slice of bread, 1 small waffle or 1 small pancake
  • 1/2 6-inch bagel
  • 1 large (18 inch) tortilla or 2 small tortillas
  • 1/2 cup cooked noodles, rice, oatmeal, quinoa or barley
  • 1 cup of cereal
  • 1/2 hamburger or hot dog bun
  • 1 serving size (approximately 16) pretzels
  • 5 crackers
  • 1/2 baked potato

How Many Carbohydrate Servings Should I Eat?

Women should eat 5-6 ounces and men 6-8 ounces of carbohydrates a day.  Remember to make at least half of the carbohydrates you eat whole grains.  To see more about whole grains, read this post.

What is a Healthy Fat?:

  • Oil (olive, peanut, sunflower, canola, corn)
  • Nuts (peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios)
  • Seeds (flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)
  • Nut and Seed Butters (peanut butter, sunbutter, almond butter)
  • Avocado (1/2 avocado counts as 3 teaspoons)

How Many Servings of Fat Should I Eat?

Women should eat 5-6 teaspoons of healthy fats and men should eat 6-7 teaspoons of healthy fats.


So next you make yourself a bowl of pasta, or a peanut butter sandwich, keep in mind how much carbohydrates and healthy fats you are using.

The average person uses 2 tablespoons of peanut butter on their sandwich, which is 6 teaspoons, your daily allowance of healthy fat.

The average bowl of pasta is 2 cups, which is 4 servings of carbohydrates (and with sauce can be up to 900 calories!)

Our eyes are playing tricks on us with our serving sizes.  Today your challenge is to stay within your allowance of carbohydrates and healthy fats.

For tips and tricks, check out my Facebook page!





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