Take Very Good
Care of YourselvesDeuteronomy 4:15



Check Your Portion IQ

We've all heard the saying a minute on your lips, a lifetime on your hips.

A penny saved is a penny earned

Well a calorie saved is one less calorie on our lips and one less calorie on our hips.

The best way to save calories is by knowing, realistically, how many of them we are consuming, and it doesn't matter if we are counting calories, grams of carbs and/or fat.  It is important that we know the total amount of food that we are consuming.

We have Shabbos every week.  That more time around the table, and a lot of shmuzzing which often leads to mindless eating.  Cutting down on portion sizes can make a big difference in the total amount of food eaten at the end of the day. 

Was that bagel or muffin you ate a single serving or more realistically four portions disguised as one large serving?

With super sizing being the norm, accurately estimating portions can be challenging.

Whether you are using carbohydrate to insulin ratios or trying to manage your diabetes/other health related issues with oral medications, diet or exercise, much of nutrition management hinges on a having a good portion IQ.

How to Raise Your Portion IQ

Practice mindful eating by creating a relaxing atmosphere, limiting distractions and paying attention to your hunger and fullness cues.

Don't multitask, as in eating while working, driving, talking on the phone or watching television.

Enjoy your food try to savor each bite. Mindfulness reduces the tendency to eat on autopilot or in response to stress or emotions.

Scan the food label. Check the manufacturer's listed carbohydrates for a given portion.

Familiarize yourself with foods you routinely purchase as well as those you're eager to try.

Evaluate your own concept of a portion.

Portion out your normal serving of cereal, pasta or orange juice really best to keep away from juices.

Guess the actual size of your portion, and then check your accuracy by using measuring cups, spoons or a kitchen scale. Measure to see how much your usual serving spoons, ladles, soup bowls and glassware hold. Use this technique to check your serving habits once a month.

Mark your drinking glasses at the 4- and 8-ounce level.

Buy permanent markers and decorate your glassware so that different patterns represent different quantities in ounces.

Kids love this project and learn about portion sizes during the process.

You can also paint on dinnerware, making shapes or pictures that represent ½- and 1-cup amounts.

When you bake cakes pre slice small portions before freezing or better yet bake in muffin/cup cake pans-the really small bite size muffin/cup cake pans are the best.

When filling your pans use a measuring spoon so that you know exactly how many spoons of batter you will actually be eating.  

The small muffin pans are ONE TABLESPOON of batter and you can't get much better than that. Have yourself a small muffin and no need to feel you've gone overboard. 

Buy or store foods in single-serving containers. When you buy foods in larger packages, make up individual portion packs at home sandwich-sized plastic bags are handy for this.

Use smaller-sized dinnerware. An 8- or 10- ounce bowl will ensure better portion sizes of soup or cereal than a two-cup bowl.

Do not serve buffet style, it is best to dish out individual servings.  

Start with single servings at meals. If you're still hungry after one serving, wait 10 minutes before dishing up seconds. This allows time for your stomach to get the message that you're full.

When having a fruit, slice it up and enjoy it nice and slow.

Request smaller portions when dining out. Many restaurants offer healthier meal options or allow you to order from the children's or senior menu, especially if you tell them it will help you better manage your diabetes. Or have just half of your meal and have the rest wrapped to go, so you can enjoy it for lunch the next day.

Don't fall into the clean your plate trap there's no shame in leaving some food behind or taking a doggie bag with you.

With a little practice, being a portion-savvy eater will become second nature. Often, simply by paying attention to portion sizes, you can bring your blood glucose into better control and find the weight dropping effortlessly. 

Test Your Portion IQ

Everyday objects are a useful guide to help you judge portion sizes more accurately. To check your portion IQ, try matching the serving sizes with these common foods:

1. One cup of fruit, vegetables, pasta or beverage

2. One teaspoon of butter or margarine

3. Three ounces of meat, fish or chicken

4. A medium apple or orange

5. One tortilla


1. a deck of cards

2. a fist

3. a tennis ball

4. a small 7-inch salad plate

5. a thumb tip

Answers: 1b, 2e, 3a, 4c, 5d


Copyright © 2023 Jewish Diabetes Association

We would appreciate being notified when our articles are used