A Lesson In Portion Control and Serving Size

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My name is Kristin Bolling.  I am a wife,
to my high school sweet-heart, a mother of 3, (2 of which includes a set of
twins), a redeemed rebel, saved by grace, a believer of Jesus Christ, and the
author of our family blog, bollingwith5.blogspot.com
I was excited when Emily Parker, of Journey Of Parenthood, asked me to do a
guest post on her blog.  Although I have
been featured many times, on several websites, this is my very first guest post
but, I am writing about something that I am very passionate about: portion
control and serving size.
  I am
not a food science major. I am not a fitness instructor. I am a conscientious
person and a loving mother with not only a huge desire to educate myself, but
also others about living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

my son, almost 11, came home the first week of school, he said to me, “Mom,
you wanna know what’s so annoying and unfair?”
 I replied, “What buddy?”  He proceeded saying, “So many of my friends pack their
own snack bags/lunches and they have like four packs of gummies or an entire
bag of goldfish, no fruit, and no protein. They don’t have a little zipbloc baggie
of goldfish like I do.”
was not one fiber in my body that felt bad for him.  I was not stumped at how to respond to him,
nor surprised that he felt so cheated. 

“There was not one fiber of my body that felt
bad for him!”

am hoping that the above comment didn’t come across as an unloving mom.  Instead, as you will see when you continue
reading, I hope that you will feel the complete opposite…that I actually love
him whole-heartedly.  Comparing is deadly
and it’s also a sin! I reminded him of this all to often. 

“I was not stumped at how to respond to him!”

made a lifestyle change over 15 years ago, prior to having my first child. My
husband and I were enjoying a very healthy and active life, which involved a
high protein, low carbohydrate, portion controlled lifestyle, plus
exercise.  Why would I not have those
same expectations and desires for my children? SO… when my son, Tyson,
expressed his annoyances and frustrations, I said, “Bud, often times, mommy and
daddy will make decisions for you that do make sense now or seem unfair/cruel
compared to what your friends’ parents allow. 
Please trust that most people are just simply unaware of what portion
control really looks like.  They are
uneducated AND therefore, really don’t know enough to even care.  The fact that I measure out your food verses allowing
you to eat from a bag is one way that I show you love.  You have to trust that!”

“Nor was I surprised he felt so cheated.”

wasn’t surprised Tyson felt cheated. 
Whether it be turning away from soft drinks, bread, alcohol, cigarettes,
or french fries, let’s face it… initially, you will feel cheated.  You will miss all of those foods that have
caused you to feel sluggish and put on excess weight because those foods
comfort. Those foods “taste good”.  Those
foods are convenient.  However, once you
start seeing the positive results, from your lifestyle change, willpower,
self-control, and moderation, you will not feel cheated, you will feel much
more satisfaction than those foods could ever offer.  There is reward at the end of the tunnel.

Portion Control:

to the Wikipedia, the true definition of portion control is as follows: 
Portion control is understanding how much a serving size of food is and
how many calories or how much food energy a serving contains. Portion control is important for body
weight management as the weight is defined by the total calorie intake.”
the day my children knew how to count, I have emphasized the importance of
measuring out their food in front of them. The moments are rare that they are eating
their snack directly out of a bag.  The
times have been VERY MINIMAL where they have eaten MORE than the FDA
recommendations.  We have chosen to make
a lifestyle out of portion control because it’s 100% effective and doable.  It’s not some unapproved, FDA fad, it’s not
expensive, it doesn’t restrict you from enjoying events (like birthday parties
that serve pizza and cake) and it’s easy. 
If you can read, count, and own a set of measuring cups…you can portion
control. As my mom used to say, “Keep It Simple Stupid.”

that I have introduced myself and spoken a little bit about what our family eating
habits are, allow me to give you a few brief essentials by educating you on the
infancy of portion control.  

Take for example, a box of Cheese Itz
Crackers.  Especially if you have
children, without allergies, I’d assume these crackers definitely exist in your
house.  Take a peak at their nutritional

portion of Cheese Itz crackers that are recommended is located directly
underneath the word “facts” and is
Did you hear that? The serving size is 27. A grown man can fit 27
crackers in the palm of ONE hand.
  If he
dips his hand in the box 3 times, he has eaten more than double the amount of
crackers recommended, not to mention, 24 grams of fat and 450 calories. OUCH!!!
Cheese Itz crackers are certainly not worth consuming that much fat and
calories over.
  Moral of the story, READ
the BACK of ALL PACKAGING, educate yourself on the serving size before you
start eating any FOOD, and MEASURE out the item(s).

love to discuss a few other things regarding portion control.  Remember, this is just the “infant” stages of
educating yourself on this subject matter. 
Five other topics come to mind: (1) Be certain to measure out ALL
foods. (2) Purchase reliable tools. (3) Consider your subject before considering
the serving size. (4) Educate your children and (5) A few sneaky and/or
reliable foods.

Be certain to measure out ALL foods.

I have found, in the past, that the best way
to ensure you are eating portioned controlled is to measure out the recommended
serving size.  Do not allow yourself to
eat aimlessly out of a bag/box.  Whether
you are on the go or sitting at your desk, be prepared and proactive. Focus on
eating.  Do not focus on a screen or
task.  Measure, measure, measure ALL
foods, even fruit! It will take a little longer to prep your food, but it’s
worth it.

in mind, measuring is beneficial because
if you eat too little, you could rob your body of the nutrients it
needs. And if you eat too much, you could ingest too many calories, and
eventually put on weight. In the event you do NOT have a way to measure out
your food, try to ingrain this photo in your head and use it as a resource
during those times.

Purchase reliable tools.   

You don’t need to be Chef Gordon Ramsay to
successfully measure out a portioned controlled snack or meal.  It’s a matter of stocking your kitchen with a
few essential needs: a set of measuring cups, a set of measuring spoons, a box
of Ziploc snack bags, and SOME people may desire a food scale (I do not own
one!).  I bought a beautiful set of
metal, heart-shaped measuring cups and spoons at Sur La Table, years ago, and
just recently I purchased a cute collection of rainbow measuring cups and
spoons at Wal-mart. I have found that almost EVERY serving size of food that I
eat, fits perfectly into a SNACK Zipbloc bag. 
SO…if you are in a huge rush and CANNOT measure something out, at least
use those bags to help minimize over eating.

3.  Consider
your subject before considering the serving size.

When my children were in preschool and up
until Kindergarten, I decided that just because the FDA recommended a specific
serving size/portion of food, it didn’t necessarily mean that my children
needed to consume that amount.  Often
times, I would cut the serving size in half. 
Take for instance a snack bag of Doritos chips.

one would assume that a snack bag is just enough for ONE person to fully
consume, but as you will see in the nutritional facts above, a snack bag of
Doritos actual contains TWO serving sizes.  No one, in my opinion, should be consuming
two serving sizes of Doritos in one day, but a child, especially, should not be
eating that many empty calories. It is a food that has no nutritional value.  So… when packing my children’s lunches, I always
divided the bag, in two, and gave my twins half of the bag. I highly suggest also
adopting this method for family members who are not very active and need to
lose weight.

4.  Educate
your children

good reason to educate yourself is so that you can also educate your
children.  Your children are human
sponges and they won’t be little for long. 
BOTH your positive and negative eating habits/methods will, more than
likely, be adopted by your children.  They will eventually be forced to make
decisions of their own, whether it be at a sleepover, in college, or when they become
parents themselves.  Why not help them
learn the importance of good eating guidelines NOW, so that they can make
important decisions that benefit their long term health and body’s physique.  You could even turn this into a game by
quizzing them, for instance,

Rebecca, What’s worse for you? One egg with 2 slices of bacon or a bowl of
cheerios cereal?”

if your child can not only answer correctly, but also EXPLAIN why?  If they cannot do BOTH, then I would educate
them about why their answer was either correct or incorrect.  While educating your children, you will
continue to learn new facts yourself.  If
you are truly concerned, you will make this a lifestyle change and not just a
moment in time.

5. A few sneaky and/or
reliable foods.

Want to EAT, but do not like the recommended serving size because it’s “too
small”.  I get it, but obeying those
suggestions is the only way you will maintain a healthy weight. So many foods
are abused OR people are truly UNAWARE of how quickly two handfuls or two
bowlfuls equate to 4-6 serving sizes. Here are a few (good and bad) sneaky foods
to watch out for. 

Cereal (3/4 cup)

(1/4 cup)




Butter (2 tablespoons)

(2 tablespoons)

(1 slice)

(1 slice)


(2 tablespoons)

Creamer (1 tablespoon)


are a few foods where the serving size seems to be a good quantity of food aka

Turkey Pepperoni (17)

Rice Cakes    (17)

(1/2 cup)



(4 ounces)

Bar (1)

Popped Popcorn (3 cups)

Tomatoes (20)

(one 3 ounce can)

(1 cup)

Beans (1 cup)

(6 ounces)


(1/2 cup)

String (1)

there you have it!!!! The infancy stages of
portion control and serving size
  I hope that I helped.  The main thing to remember is to read
labels, purchase and use measuring tools, MEASURE ALL FOODS,
and non-healthy,
educate both yourself and your family members, and make it part
of your
It usually boils down to what you are eating and how much of it that you are
  There is no magic pill, no
special shake, and no secret diet BUT, there IS a such thing as portion
control/serving size.

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Emily Parker

Hey Y’all, I’m Emily! I’m a stay at home mom and consider parenting to be my passion. Disney is my happiest place and I love making memories as a family together. I’m a big believer in transparency and share all of my real-life moments as a mother of four.

My work has been featured on Today Parenting and Babywise.Life. I’m also honored to be a member of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network.

You can read more about our family on my About Me page. Also be sure to follow along with me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!

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