According to the CDC, the average portion size of a restaurant meal has more than quadrupled in the last sixty years. The above graph shows the size of a typical fast food meal from the 1950s compared to that of today, with a portion of French fries that’s about three times larger, a hamburger that’s four times larger, and a soda that’s grown a whopping six times its previous 7-ounce size.  

It’s easy to overeat in a restaurant, where we often have very little control over how much food is put on our plates. If meals prepared at home are based on restaurant portion sizes, overeating could become an issue there too. Use this guide when dining out or in to help keep your portions in check.




At home:

-Nix “family style.” Put your food on the plate before bringing it to the table to avoid second and third helpings.

-Use plastic bags or containers to separate the contents of bulk food products (like large bags of chips) into single servings. Eating straight from the package is one of the easiest ways to lose track of serving size.

-Have a healthy snack like fruit or nuts between meals so you don’t overeat at your next meal. 

At a restaurant:

-Divide your meal as soon as it’s served and get half of it wrapped up.

-If the restaurant has a smaller portion size of the same dish, order it.

-Split an entrée with a friend.


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How do you control your portion sizes?