Give your children the skinny on portions

HELP CHILDREN learn how to measure portions with these steps.	Contributed graphic

HELP CHILDREN learn how to measure portions with these steps. Contributed graphic

Give your children the skinny on portions

One of the best ways you can help your child live healthy and maintain a healthy weight is to teach them what an actual serving size looks like.

Knowing a healthy serving size is one of the keys to maintaining a healthy weight throughout life.

Children can use this knowledge to make healthier choices when eating at school, having snacks or even choosing from a fast food menu.

Many people get confused when they hear the words “serving sizes” and portions.

Servings are the measured amount of a food from one of the food groups. The amount is defined by the USDA.

Servings for each of the food groups:

• Vegetables: 1/2 - 1 cup depending on vegetable

• Fruit: 1/2 cup or 6 fluid ounces of juice

• Grains: 1 ounce or 1 ounce equivalent

• Dairy: 1 cup for liquids or 1 ounce

• Protein: 1 ounce or 1 ounce equivalent

Serving size refers to the amount shown on the food label. The amount will vary depending on how the food manufacturer defined one serving size. For example, if you compare cereals, some cereal manufacturers will define one serving size as 1/2 cup and another manufacturer will define a serving size as 1 cup. This is why it is so important to look at food labels. Food labels tell you how many calories and nutrients in one serving. But a package could have five servings in it.

Portions refer to the amount you choose to put on your plate. For example, you might have a 6- ounce steak. That is equal to 6 servings from the meat group.

Make smart choices from every food group.

Find your balance between food and physical activity.

For more information, log on at www.MyPlate.gov.

Patty Ortega-Flores is nutrition educator, OFNP/SNAP, for OSU/Wasco County Extension Service. Contact her at 541-296-5494 or Patty.ortega-flores@oregonstate.edu.

Source: Michelle Mirizzi, MS, registered dietitian


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