Just an Old Soup Bowl

soup dish

It all started out with an old soup dish that I found at a resale shop, it reminded me of the soup bowls we used when I was a child. They were so much smaller than the ones I have in my kitchen cabinet now. Come to think of it, everything was smaller back then and so were we.

We didn’t have coffee mugs, we drank coffee or tea out of tiny cups with a small saucer; dessert and ice cream was served in little glass bowls -which we used for side salads as well. Everything in my kitchen nowadays is enormous -plates, bowls, mugs, and pitchers.

We must have eaten smaller portions back then…and so it began. I started reading up on portion and serving sizes, and I am glad I did.

10 fries are considered a healthy portion. Ten lousy fries, imagine that? They look so lonely on a plate, just like the 5-oz suggested serving of wine, that looks so pitiful in the big wineglass I like to use.

If 10 fries are considered a healthy portion, why does the bag of fries in my freezer suggest 22 fries as serving size? What kind of tricky business is that?

0523 portions fries aw

I continued to research it further, and what I found out floored me.  The serving sizes listed on the Nutrition Facts Label are not recommended serving sizes. By law, serving sizes must be based on how much food people actually consume, and not on what they should eat.  Imagine that, our serving sizes had to be adjusted over the years because we eat too much.

The goal: To bring serving sizes closer to what people actually eat so that when they look at calories and nutrients on the label, these numbers more closely match what they are consuming. (Source: FDA Consumer Health Information) 

Bummer! Does that mean there are two serving sizes out there? The serving size on the food labels, and then the recommended serving size that is suggested by doctors and nutritionists. I didn’t like it, but it made so much sense.

I couldn’t help but compare the two soup bowls. The small one holds precisely one cup of liquid, while the one we are using holds easily three cups. The serving size has tripled during the last 40 years; we are trained to eat like grizzly bears.

We are out of control -in more than one way- and we need to fix that.


Image result for portion vs serving

14 thoughts on “Just an Old Soup Bowl

  1. There was a TV series in the UK called Back in Time for Dinner, during which a family (a real one), lived and ate using recipes and equipment from different decades of the last century. The changes in the sizes of crockery were staggering. I feel bad when i pul a sensible-sized portion in the middle of one of our enormous plates… so we end up eating more than we should.


  2. Oh yeah, it’s an eye opener, right? I did this, like, a while back (over ten years ago) when the recommended serving size was what was healthy for you… and it’s amazing how things have changed. Interestingly, it was a comedian ranting about serving sizes that got me to to looking. The kids meal at most fast food places nowadays are what used to the main meal when they first opened back in the day. I guess people wanted “more” for their money or something and it grew from there. Whenever I go to a restaurant, I put most of the food in a carry out container and eat a portion size at the table. That way I’m bringing home, like two more meals.


  3. What an excellent article. Here in France you notice very quickly how little people help themselves to (and how slowly they eat) which I am sure is the single main reason that up until now they have had far less of an issue with obesity than the UK and USA. I spend much of my time like the angel of doom warning against aping the wrong habits and getting sucked into the huge portions mentality. Quality should always rule and savoring food.


  4. When I was going to Weight Watchers and actually measuring food I realized that my cereal bowl about 3x the size it needed to be and that I used to fill it up every morning thinking I was eating healthy. I think we have no real concept of how we’re over eating even in our daily “healthy” diet. When we really over eat, like eat a whole bag of chips or stop for a triple ice cream on the way home? THAT’S what we think of as out of control. In reality it’s our whole lifestyle that is out of control.


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