These books persuasively argue that a key reason that people are gaining so much weight, so easily, is that we’re eating gargantuan portions of food, without realizing it.
Both books are full of great examples—how the size of a croissant in the U.S. compares to one in France; how a serving of soda has gone from 6.5 ounces to 64 ounces; how cookbooks re-print the brownie recipe from thirty years ago as serving “15” instead of “30”—the batch is the same, but people think that brownies should be twice as big.
Therefore, the argument goes, an easy way to cut calories is to keep portion sizes in check. By ordering the appetizer size instead of the entrée size of pasta, for example, I can still have the fun of eating, and I won’t feel hungry, but I’ll eat substantially less.
When I was at my gym the other day, my instructor showed me some plastic food they have to illustrate proper portion sizes. Zoikes, I wanted those for myself! It gave me a real feel for the proper portions—plus the food is so realistic looking, it’s hilarious.
So I came home and found the site from which they came: Nasco. I hesitated before buying them, but then decided to “spend money to further my goals.”
The Portion-Teller is full of suggested comparisons—a protein serving should be as big as a stack of cards, etc.—but I think it’s much easier to look at this dummy food to train my eye.
It’s striking: when I look at the plastic food, I think, sure, that’s a good amount of rice or fish or ice cream. But I know that if I got a plate that held that portion size, it would seem pretty meager. I put the fake spaghetti in our pasta bowls at home, and it looked so dinky at the bottom of the enormous bowl. (Note to self: don’t use the pasta bowls!)
And if I get tired of using this fake food to help me with portion control, the Big Girl and I can use them to play practical jokes on the rest of the family.