Who Does Portion Control Better?

always hungry

Would you bite into smaller portions if you got to dish it up? Credit: kevindooley

Last week, I wrote about how a new self-serve frozen yogurt place in my neighborhood has me being very careful. I treat myself every now and then, but at this place in particular, I have to be mindful of my portions lest I add every bit of candy or topping that looks tasty. Because everything looks tasty.

One commenter made the point that the ability to build-your-own allows you to have control over the cost and calories. In the last part of the comment, she (more or less) asked if I was suggesting that we need an employee to help us control how much we eat.

If I had my way, I’d love it if everything was self serve. (Minus the whole gross factor of the general public also serving themselves.) Because just as we have the option to go overboard and fill the container to overflowing, self-serve also gives us the option to stop when we want to. A lot of times, I feel like food establishments want to be considered a good value for the money, so they really fill you up, so to speak. If it’s a single scoop of ice cream, they cram your cone with what can only be considered three scoops. If it’s Chipotle, they give you so much it’s like they’re trying to preemptively prevent you from asking for “extra” anything. At Wendy’s, the medium drink is the old large—and I’ve yet to learn my lesson on that.

If I could serve myself, I guarantee my portions would be smaller on the whole. It’s a lot easier to dish up less food and walk away than it is to stop eating when you’ve got food in front of you (at least for me).

What about you? Would your portions be smaller if you were in charge at restaurants? Are you good at boxing up meals for later consumption? Are you able to walk away from a too-large ice cream cone when you feel satisfied? Do tell. —Erin

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  1. I can easily box things up at a restaurant, but I always forget about it and it ends up in the trash after a few days in the back of the fridge. If I get too large of an ice cream, it gets split with the dog (she loves her vanilla soft serve.) PS have you ever seen the size of a medium soft serve cone! HUGE!!! way too much for one person! I am all for smaller portion sizes!

  2. I would LOVE if portions were smaller at restaurants! I actually usually order something specifically smaller like off the appetizer menu, or the kids menu, or the “under XX cals” menu or whatever. (I know ordering off a kids menu can be “controversial” but I always ask whether it’s OK first, and tip as if I’d bought an “adult” meal.) I don’t need a restaurant to “cut me off” but I also don’t need a mountain of food that I don’t want. Of course I’ll box things up to bring them home if I have a good portion of food left, but I’d rather not have that extra food in the first place.

  3. Lilly says:

    I so agree with this! My biggest issue with weight loss is portion control. I have to totally cut myself off from anything bad because I just can’t stop myself…FroYo has been one of the worst things for me. I go in, they have those giant cups and how are you just supposed to put one serving in there?! Crazy I say, crazy!

  4. Anita says:

    As my daughter says if you put the real serving of froyo that you are actually supposed to have in that giant cup, it looks like ‘elf food’. Then visually I feel deprived even though I know I am treating myself.

    Seriously, they should offer a junior cup or whatever they want to call it. I know what portions should be but many people don’t. Their logic is ‘oh, well it’s “healthy” and they gave me this big cup so I should be good with whatever I can put in there, right.’ Clearly they are charging you by weight and they want you to get a lot in those big cups. Whether you can or should eat that much is not their problem it’s true. That choice is up to you… but it’s HARD to put a small amt in a big cup even if you know.

    If it were my froyo store we would have cups labeled 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, and 3/4 cup etc and I would have the nutrition information for each flavor displayed. I am all for making portion control and healthy choices easy for people.

    I think the purveyors of food being pushed at us as ‘healthy’ need to be more responsible and not subtly push people to get way more than they should.

  5. Sophie says:

    Portion control has been a problem for me too which is why I avoid to going to self serve restaurants when i’m in need of comfort food as my plate gets piled high!

    As for FroYo, me and my friends have come up with a genius idea – we get each others portions so we don’t get too much and we can’t complain about portion size.

  6. I don’t have any problem stopping when I am full, but sometimes I feel so guilty when it is food that won’t heat up well. I feel like I am wasting money. I would absolutely love it if restaurants charged less for less food. I love places like conveyor belt sushi where I not only can I get just the right amount of food, but I can get a lot of variety too!