Portion Awareness – Part 1

By Executive Chef Richard Sloan

There’s only  one thing I really enjoy…It’s eating.  I love good tasting food!! How about you?

When I cook at home, I always prepare enough food for a family of 6, even if there’s only 4 of us. Why?  That’s because no one goes away hungry from my table, period..

Well, that’s actually a bad, bad, BAD idea…

Here’s why – what happens is that we all overeat because of the abundance of food and the results show in our expanding waistlines. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Like so many of us, I knew I needed to adjust my thinking and change my ways if I wanted to prepare meals that would enable my family and I to be able to eat healthier and feel better.


What I found is that one key practice that leads to healthier eating is exercising PORTION  CONTROL using the magic number 4. It’s really that easy!

Here are the 4 reasons (not 3 or 5) how the number “4” will help with portion control and eating healthier quantities.

  1. Proteins: Keep your main protein size to about 4 ounces for each meal. This includes chicken, beef and fish. And remember to always choose leaner cuts of meat.  

     2) Starch:  I LOVE rice and potatoes and they loved me back – too much! It was time to put our relationship in check.

My recommendation to you: Serve only 4 ounces of your choice of starch, whether it’s rice, potatoes, or whatever.  This way you can enjoy, but not overdo it.

     3) Vegetables: I’ll tell you a secret, vegetables and I have a love/hate relationship…we don’t really get along.

I used to say that if I ate my veggies, I wouldn’t have room for that 2nd and 3rd portion of potatoes. I now put them on my plate first, at every meal, and you know what…we have come to an understanding.

Vegetables are actually the one food group where you should go over the magic number. As my mom used to say, “…eat your veggies, they’re good for you!!!” Does your mom say the same? Guess what! They’re right.

    4) Pasta:  In the past, I always cooked a full box for 3-4 people because I didn’t want to put the half-box back in my pantry. Easy solution: cook 2 ounces of uncooked pasta per person.  So if there’s 2 of you, that makes 4 ounces. That will give you about a cup of cooked pasta per person which is approximately 200 calories and 50 grams of carbohydrates.

So there you have it. The first 4 reasons why I love the number 4 and how it can help with portion awareness and PORTION CONTROL.

Next week, we’ll explore other easy and helpful ways to mind quantify at meal time.


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