What Has Happened to Our Serving Sizes?

In Charles Dickens Oliver Twist a starving Oliver states “Please sir, I want some more”.

Well with the fast food industry and super sizing sometimes firsts can be too much. In restaurants anymore the portions are so generous we are bringing home more doggie bags than ever.


What is going on with this trend? Have you shopped for dishes or cutlery lately? I think the problem may be the dishes we are using and silverware we are eating with that is causing a serious portion size mistake every time we eat.

I recently had guests over for a dinner of soup and rolls and a night of Wii gaming. I had my soup bowls on the counter” ¦.

(First off, I probably need to preface that I love old dishes. My everyday dishware is a 50 year old set passed down from my mother. They are beautiful.)

” ¦my guests were shocked by the size of my soup bowls. “What are these?” Now, these guests are dear friends so there was no offence in the question. They just were taken aback by how small my soup/cereal bowls were. This got me to thinking.

Has the size of our dinnerware grown so much that what used to be considered a serving is now thought not enough for a child?

Could the size of our plates and bowls been inadvertently adjusting our attitudes to what a true serving is?

Could this be affecting the overweight crisis we are facing in America?

Portion sizes, maybe it is not so much what we eat but how much we eat.

I recently read a health blog that stated that the health concern over fats was going out of favor and the concern over sugar consumption was taking its place. So we are no longer going to find packaging with “fat free” desirable, we are going to be looking for “sugar free”. These cyclical changes in the health industry recommendations seem more marketing driven to me versus health driven.

My father always preached “Everything in moderation”. Does everything come down to portion size?

When did a cup 8 ounces of water turn into a 12 ounce can of soda? Who even thinks 8 ounces is a glass full?

Back to my dishes” ¦these good friends generally use bowls that are the size of the vegetable serving bowls that are in my dish set. So what was considered a vegetable side dish for a family of 4 to 6 is now the new soup bowl. How many extra calories are we eating due to the size of our dishware?

Just think of your coffee, what size coffee do you get? Coffee cups used to hold 8 ounces of hot Joe, now they are the size of a thermos.

What about your silverware? Are your soup spoons as big as your serving spoons? Are your dinner forks as big as a meat server fork? If you answer, yes, that you have beautiful oversized cutlery. Then you need to be careful. Your eyes are going to want you to fill those utensils with bites that are oversized.

If you are struggling with your weight, examine your dishes and cutlery. Chances are your plates and bowls are oversize. In order to keep your serving sizes in proportion to the number of calories you want to consume here are some tips:

Use your salad plate and not your dinner plate. This gives you the satisfaction that you are getting a plate full of food but keeps you from over eating.

Use your salad fork instead of your dinner fork. Research tells us that it takes 20 minutes of eating for your stomach to tell your brain you are full. So, the slower you eat the more accurate that message will be from your stomach to your brain. In order to slow down eat smaller bites slowly. If you have oversize cutlery use the small fork, you will take smaller bites and that will help slow you down.

Use your teaspoon instead of your soup spoon. This follows the same logic as the fork. You will eat smaller bites allowing the stomach brain communication time to let you know you are full.


Buy chips and snacks in single serving sizes. Yes, this will cost more. But not all that much if you watch for sales or shop at wholesale stores. It is way too easy to open a bag of chips and munch until you feel satisfied. But chances are if you do that you will have had two or three servings of your favorite snack, consuming more calories than you ever wanted. If you buy single serving chips for instance, allow yourself the chips but stick to one bag. You will know exactly how many calories you have consumed.

Buy snack size candy bars. This is for all of us that need that little bit of chocolate more often than is good for us. A bag of snack size snickers bars will help you limit yourself to one small helping satisfying the desire for chocolate without overdoing the calories.

Get your salad bowls out. That is right make salad a part of every one of your meals. You can fill that salad bowl with low calorie vegetables that are full of filling fiber. Thus filling you up and limiting your calorie consumption. This is my one exception to smaller is better.

Second helpings and first helpings that are too big are helping to defeat us when we step on the scale.

Next time you are shopping for dishes, you could go vintage and everything would be smaller or you can just keep in mind that if you want to help control your portion sizes you will look for plates and bowls you can fill up for a lovely meal but that won”t allow you to go overboard.


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