Hit Hard by the Serving Size Fairy


And she ain’t a very purtty fairy?

The past couple of days I have been feeling sluggish.  My clothes have felt a bit more snug, and I’ve been so hungry!  Now, it may be because of the dreary weather.  Or perhaps I’m just tired.  But I discovered today that it was the Serving Size Fairy.

Let me explain.  This weekend I went to BJ’s with my parents, and I picked up a jumbo sized bag of dried fruit.  It has dried cherries, bananas, cranberries, pineapples, walnuts, almonds, etc., etc., etc.  The cherries and the walnuts are my favorite!

Ever since purchasing this bag of fruit, I have been grabbing a handful here and there.  

Teach a spelling lesson. 

Grab a handful of fruit. 

Grade a paper. 

Grab a handful of fruit. 

Get my drift?

Well, this morning I woke up and decided to weigh myself.  I was five pounds heavier than I normally am in the morning!  Numbers on a scale don’t really mean very much, but b/c Larry’s huge sweat pants were so much more appealing to me than normal, I knew something was up!  What have I been doing differently?

The FRUIT.

I decided to check out the nutritional label.  I know that dried fruit is not as good as the real stuff, but I had no idea how much worse it is! 

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1/4 cup

Amount per Serving
  • Calories 120 Calories from Fat 30
% Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 3.5g 5%
  • Saturated Fat 1g 5%
  • Trans Fat 0g  
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 15mg 1%
  • Total Carbohydrate 22g 7%
  • Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
  • Sugars 17g  
  • Protein 1g 2%
  • Calcium2%
  • Iron2%
Est. Percent of Calories from:
Fat 26.2% Carbs 73.3%
Protein 3.3%

 

Have you any idea how very small 1/4 cup of dried fruit is?!?!?!?

I didn’t have my camera with me at work today, but let’s use this picture as a visual.  This is a tiny snack sized baggie.  1/4 of this bag is the bottom 15 chopped veggies.

 

 

I bet my handfuls were each at least that much!  Yikes!

And I wasn’t the only one hit by the Serving Size Fairy today.  One of my co-workers brought in a microwave pizza for lunch today.  When she opened the package she was surprised to see two tiny pizza breads individually wrapped.  Each tiny pizza was one serving.  Argh!  She ate both, because otherwise she would have been starving for the rest of the day. 

These two scenarios are perfect examples of why the FDA is working to make nutrition labels more consistent with serving sizes that Americans actually eat. 

Take this Healthy Choice single serving soup container.  I would eat this for lunch one day thinking I was making a healthy choice.  However, if you look carefully at labels such as this, you will be surprised to find that the serving size is really much smaller than the entire package.  

Serving Sizes May Be Smaller Than You Expect

Here’s a fun little test!  Pour a serving of cereal in a bowl to reflect how much you actually eat.  Then measure it in a measuring cup?  How close were you? 

It’s hard for many people (especially me…  I’m math challenged), to visualize a serving size, or to eyeball it.  By changing the labels to reflect realistic proportions, it may stop many people from grabbing that extra handful, or persuade them to make a healthier choice altogether!

Here’s an interesting article from The New York Times that was featured February 10, 2010.  If you don’t want to read it, scroll down and at least watch the video on the right hand side.  It’s really eye opening!

I know I’ll be paying closer attention to serving sizes from now on!

Have you ever been surprised by the serving size on packages?  Do you think you follow the suggested serving size, or do you eat a bit more?

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Hit Hard by the Serving Size Fairy

  1. Dried fruit is so delicious, but you’re right – it’s hard to watch portion sizes, especially when you’re grabbing handfuls straight from the bag! Nuts & dried fruit are so calorie-dense! (Cherries are my fave, too. Yum.)

    I think I am pretty aware of portion sizes nowadays (it’s been a journey), but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to stick to them!

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