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Quill

Portion sizes

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I’m curious about this. I often post meals on social media because I enjoy good food and cooking. The last several times, though, someone always comments on my small portions. It’s actually starting to get on my nerves. 😐 I don’t think these dinners are remarkably small, though they are not very large; I agree with that. The US in general is known for big portions, but I thought that was mostly a restaurant thing, or the fare of big, burly men. But every comment is made by female friends, not restaurant owners or big, beefy guys. 

Would the following picture make you think, “wow, such a small meal!” Or does this just look like a normal meal to you? 

The meal is Salmon with Lemon Caper sauce, rice and steamed squash. 

0F0B6EA7-850D-4CE3-A6FA-AD1351FC1A4C.jpeg

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My dh would wonder where the rest of the food was. My daughters and I would say it was perfect.

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It depends on the size of the dinner plate. This one looks quite large, as it's roughly the same diameter as the placemat.  This would be fine for serving sizes for my family now, as the dc are all teens. It would have been way too much when they were younger. I've started using a smaller plate, myself. It's mentally great to fill the side plate completely and not physically feel like I've over-eaten.

Edited by wintermom
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Before I started educating myself on calories and portion sizes 3 months ago, I would have thought, “Huh.  That seems like a tiny bit of food.  I wonder if I’m overeating and maybe that’s why I keep sloooowly gaining?”  

And now, 3 months later, I can confirm that I had been overeating, and the amount of food on that plate is an appropriate portion.  But I think the majority of Americans don’t know that.  

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It looks small, but I don't know if it's the size of the plate or the lack of veggies in the one corner.

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The salmon portion looks smaller than what we eat here but the rice looks like more than we would eat. Veggie portion looks normal for us.

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For comparison, I found two pics on my phone. The first is about the size of yours and a lunch I packed for youngest ds: chicken, rice, yogurt sauce, cheese (refused to eat because cheese shouldn’t string), brownie and grapes.
Edit: not a brownie.  It was a special treat of a chocolate covered marshmallow bear.

The second is my meal of short lamb kabobs and a veggie-heavy grain salad. Looking at your meal, I would not be satisfied and be hungry an hour later.

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8D35D2B4-8CFC-4CD4-8BA3-32579F4A3D2D.jpeg

Edited by HomeAgain
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I would probably eat a bit more salmon, I didn’t see it under the lemon and was looking for the protein. That would not be enough food for my boys or husband. It would be about 3x too much for my picky daughter. 😆 Although she might eat the rice if she was in the right mood. 

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I eat more, but I'm 6' tall and somewhat muscular. Actually, when I stopped counting calories and started using points, I realized that diets hadn't worked for me because I have a really different calorie needs than most women. I'd probably double or triple the salmon and the squash while keeping the rice the same. My husband would also triple the rice. We're a slim family.

Emily

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I'm 5'9", old, and not overweight.   Looks small to me.  I would ditch the rice and eat about 5X the vegetables using a variety of different ones.

 

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It's hard to tell because I don't see anything that gives me a good size perspective. But regardless, there is no way I'd say anything about how small/large/whatever I thought your portions were - that is, IMHO, just tacky. I would be interested, however, in the recipe for your Salmon with lemon caper sauce! I usually do a maple glazed Salmon, but that lemon caper sauce sounds yummy! 

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I think it would present as bigger if you used a smaller plate and smaller lemon slice.  Based solely on relative portion sizes, I would add a salad or double, possibly triple the vegetable.  I aim for at least half my meal being non-starchy vegetable.   Dh would want less rice, a salad, and double the salmon.

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9 minutes ago, Sherry in OH said:

I think it would present as bigger if you used a smaller plate and smaller lemon slice.  Based solely on relative portion sizes, I would add a salad or double, possibly triple the vegetable.  I aim for at least half my meal being non-starchy vegetable.   Dh would want less rice, a salad, and double the salmon.

Fascinating. If I had triple the vegetables I would not be able to eat the rest. 

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The fact that the fish is totally covered by a slice of lemon threw me off.  

I usually put more than that on my plate, but often, that’s about as much as I actually eat.  

 

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That's about what my 6 year old eats, the 10 and 12 year old girl would eat about 1.5 that amount.  The 16 year old girl and 18 year old boy and DH would eat about 2x that amount, the 21 year old would probably eat 3-4X that amount.  I'm probably the only one in my family who might eat close to that amount, but I'm a grazer so while that might be the right amount for a meal, I'd be eating something else in another hour or two.

But we are known as a family with big eaters (and high metabolisms so my kids are all very thin even though we are a family of couch potatoes).  I have friends who eat tiny portions compared to us and I wonder how they stay alive and they wonder how my kids can eat so much and still be so thin.  

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16 minutes ago, Bambam said:

It's hard to tell because I don't see anything that gives me a good size perspective. But regardless, there is no way I'd say anything about how small/large/whatever I thought your portions were - that is, IMHO, just tacky. I would be interested, however, in the recipe for your Salmon with lemon caper sauce! I usually do a maple glazed Salmon, but that lemon caper sauce sounds yummy! 

Well, thank you for that; I feel similarly. I think one friend kicked it off by commenting on portion size several recipes ago and it emboldened those who were thinking the same thing. 

I’ll put up the recipe later; I’m not home atm. My son actually made this meal last night. 

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3 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

The fact that the fish is totally covered by a slice of lemon threw me off.  

I usually put more than that on my plate, but often, that’s about as much as I actually eat.  

 

I avoid taking more than I will eat as much as I possibly can. I can always get seconds if it turns out I’m still wanting. 

I could have eaten a bigger piece of salmon, but my daughter cut one portion in half, leaving the other half, so that seemed good to me. 

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4 minutes ago, Quill said:

Fascinating. If I had triple the vegetables I would not be able to eat the rest. 

Well, like I said, I was going solely on proportion of vegetable to rice and salmon.  I don't know how big the actual servings were.  Plus, I'm vegetarian, so I wouldn't eat the salmon at all.  Dh would love it, though.   

 

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1 minute ago, Quill said:

I avoid taking more than I will eat as much as I possibly can. I can always get seconds if it turns out I’m still wanting. 

I could have eaten a bigger piece of salmon, but my daughter cut one portion in half, leaving the other half, so that seemed good to me. 

Ah, in my house, I can’t go back for seconds because by the time I get there there won’t be any left for seconds.  By the time I finish and decide if I want seconds, it’s all gone.  It’s just easier to take a bit more and then give what I don’t finish to DH, than to take exactly what I want and then go back to find out he polished off the rest.     

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If they are so rude to comment on your small portion sizes I think you should start replying, quite cheerily, 'That's my secret to not becoming overweight!'

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Just now, Scarlett said:

If they are so rude to comment on your small portion sizes I think you should start replying, quite cheerily, 'That's my secret to not becoming overweight!'

It was tempting. 

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12 minutes ago, Quill said:

Well, thank you for that; I feel similarly. I think one friend kicked it off by commenting on portion size several recipes ago and it emboldened those who were thinking the same thing. 

I’ll put up the recipe later; I’m not home atm. My son actually made this meal last night. 

I'd be looking for friends who think about more interesting things than commenting on someone's portion size.😉

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58 minutes ago, EmilyGF said:

I eat more, but I'm 6' tall and somewhat muscular. Actually, when I stopped counting calories and started using points, I realized that diets hadn't worked for me because I have a really different calorie needs than most women. I'd probably double or triple the salmon and the squash while keeping the rice the same. My husband would also triple the rice. We're a slim family.

Emily

Same here. I don't count calories anymore but know from the past counting that I eat more than many women. I'm only 5'4" but a fair amount of muscle for my size and working on putting on more.

I'd guess looking at it that is maybe 1/4-1/2 cup of rice- maybe 120 calories, that is about the same as I eat. The salmon looks like maybe 2 oz and skinless variety that is only about 75 calories (unless the sauce is really calorie heavy), the squash steamed is maybe 40 calories. If you generously put the sauce at 50 calories that meal is maybe 290 calories, so yes, that is a small meal, unless one eats several a day it wouldn't be enough to maintain the weight of most women.

The last 2 salmon meal I had was with 4 oz of salmon baked, 1/2 cup rice, and a GIANT pile of sauteed veggies (with a drizzle of chile oil). 

However, I would not comment on the size, just the same as I wouldn't comment if someone posted a giant meal. My food comments are limited to asking if it was good and asking for recipes.

Edited by soror
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It's impossible for me to say accurately w/o something in the picture for size context. However, the veggie serving looks very skimpy to me. Again, can't say w/o size context but I'd guess I typically eat at least three times the veggies that appear to be in your picture, and would likely have some fruit for dessert. FWIW, I'm 4'10" and not overweight. But--a portion on one plate means nothing. I have no idea how much you eat for other meals or snacks, or if you're going to have a ginormous piece of cake or pie for dessert, etc. And it's rude to comment on anyone's food intake. Period. (But I also think it's weird to post pictures of ones food, but that's none of my business, either!)

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I think it is the right amount for most women in their 40s and 50s.  I often eat more than that which explains why I am creeping toward being overweight. I could eat more veggies and that would not be much calories...

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

I’m curious about this. I often post meals on social media because I enjoy good food and cooking. The last several times, though, someone always comments on my small portions. It’s actually starting to get on my nerves. 😐 I don’t think these dinners are remarkably small, though they are not very large; I agree with that. The US in general is known for big portions, but I thought that was mostly a restaurant thing, or the fare of big, burly men. But every comment is made by female friends, not restaurant owners or big, beefy guys. 

Would the following picture make you think, “wow, such a small meal!” Or does this just look like a normal meal to you? 

The meal is Salmon with Lemon Caper sauce, rice and steamed squash. 

0F0B6EA7-850D-4CE3-A6FA-AD1351FC1A4C.jpeg

I'd probably have that much fish but might skip the white rice and instead fill the whole of the rest of the plate with veg.

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That's the perfect size for me, with the exception of the veggies.  I'd want at least another 1/2 size portion of those.  The rest of my family might want another 1/2 size of the protein (meat), although definitely not double.  And I know they'd love to have more veggies -- probably double what you show.   (My ds could probably eat three times the meat/veggie servings that you show, although it's hard to know exactly what the portions are from the pic.)

However, I've often served meals to my family about that size, probably more often than not.  I just add a big salad plus maybe a piece of hardy bread, and then the plate looks very full!

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That’s about what portions I eat for breakfast and lunch, dinner is about half that if I eat at all.  Plus a cereal bowl sized salad at lunch, usually.  I have pretty severe GERD.  Any more food than that would come back up my nose.

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I agree with Soror. I aim for 400 to 500 cal for dinner including sufficient protein. I'd only cut that back if those nutrients were consumed in an afternoon snack.  Definitely I would not present your plate as a dinner.

I would call it supper if it had the full serving of the fish, and the missing serving of greens - or was that an earlier course?

Edited by HeighHo
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To me it looks like a good amount of fish. I'd skip the rice since I don't like it but it looks like a serving of rice.  I would double the veggies or add a salad to that meal even if I kept the rice in it.  But you and I are very different sizes and the amount I mentioned is what I can eat while still losing weight.  I imagine when I am at my proper weight my plates will look more like yours minus the rice plus  more veggies.

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I would eat triple the amount of salmon, no sauce, more veggies and forgo the rice. 

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That's about what I eat at a meal. My DH doesn't think I eat enough but that size meal satisfies me. I have small snacks in between meals though. He thinks if I eat bigger meals I won't need the snacks. The problem is I can't eat a lot of food at one time. It would make me over full. 

DH and ds would eat twice that amount for a meal.

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When I make salmon for six of us (DH, myself, and boys 10, 7, 5, & 2), I make two entire sides of salmon, usually between 1.75-2 lbs total. DSs 10, 7, & 5 will eat an entire side of salmon by themselves! DS and I will each have a larger portion than you have, plus there will be a leftover serving for lunch for DH the next day. We will usually have salmon with salad, green/mixed vegetables, and homemade bread.

ETA: We do not snack between meals here.

Edited by Noreen Claire
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Just now, Noreen Claire said:

When I make salmon for six of us (DH, myself, and boys 10, 7, 5, & 2), I make two entire sides of salmon, usually between 1.75-2 lbs total. DSs 10, 7, & 5 will eat an entire side of salmon by themselves! DS and I will each have a larger portion than you have, plus there will be a leftover serving for lunch for DH the next day. We will usually have salmon with salad, green/mixed vegetables, and homemade bread.

I make 2 lbs of salmon for my family of dh, ds19, dss18 and myself.  We usually eat it all.

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15 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

I think it is the right amount for most women in their 40s and 50s.  I often eat more than that which explains why I am creeping toward being overweight. I could eat more veggies and that would not be much calories...

Fwiw I just turned 40 but have not went through menopause, after menopause it does decrease our calories needs but one should still need more than 1000 calories a day to maintain.

eta- My bmi is 21, so I'm well within normal weight range.

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I'd probably double the salmon (though not necessarily), and possibly skip the rice but double the veg. If I were eating the rice, that's about the amount I would choose.

A lot would depend on if I had been snacking or not. The easiest way for me to keep my weight under control is to not snack, except for maybe a planned afternoon snack if I know dinner is going to be late. Other people graze throughout the day and may prefer smaller portions at meals. Some people are more or less active, and then there's the metabolism issue. To each her own.

NB, when I was in Germany and Austria, the portions were huge, and the locals were fit and healthy. All of us Americans thought it was way too much food. All the Germans were puzzled that we weren't eating more. They were very active in their day-to-day lives, though, especially from walking everywhere. 

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Based on the size of the lemon slice, the squash would be too much (of the same vegetables, kids prefer mixed vegetables) except for my husband, salmon fillet would need to be 2.5 times bigger for lunch or dinner, rice would be just nice though my husband usually eats twice the amount and I skip rice.

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You might get more of a perspective with the books "What I Eat:.." or "Hungry Planet" by Menzel & D'Aluisio. The books might be available thru your public library.

One thing you might also do is consult the nutritionist.  During your treament, did they explain to you the minimum daily amount needed to supply sufficient nutrients to someone who is not in treatment?  Generally for women that is 1000 cal for petites, and 1200 for nonpetites.  Any less, or a deficiency in nutrition via consumption of junk food is going to affect your bones.

 

Edited by HeighHo

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The salmon and rice look about right to me. I'd have more squash though if I was eating that meal.

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I think the food would look bigger if the plate was plain white. The big pattern makes the food look smaller. That being said, it is not a huge meal, but adequate. it looks yummy, though. If my child made this meal I would feel proud and grateful. How much I eat varies from day to day, with how I feel, what I am doing and how much I am snacking.

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2 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

Ah, in my house, I can’t go back for seconds because by the time I get there there won’t be any left for seconds.  By the time I finish and decide if I want seconds, it’s all gone.  It’s just easier to take a bit more and then give what I don’t finish to DH, than to take exactly what I want and then go back to find out he polished off the rest.     

There’s usually a bit of negotiation in our house if someone wants seconds and there isn’t much left. 

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Yes, the serving in the  picture would not be enough food for me. I'd would serve at least twice as much fish; this looks pitiful. (And I'd eat a lot more veggies). Nobody in my family would be full after this meal. FWIW, none of us are overweight or interested in dieting.

Edited by regentrude
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Yeah, even though I commented that I would probably eat a slightly bigger piece of salmon, I really think context matters.  I can’t imagine commenting on the portion sizes of someone’s meal, unless asked.  Is that a gigantic plate? Did you have a giant lunch? Was lunch really late? Is there going to be dessert?  Are you eating shortly before bed? Did you buy not quite enough salmon for everyone to have as much as they wanted,  so you are skimping a bit? Do you just not have much appetite in the evening?  

On the flip side if you had posted a heaping plate, maybe you just hiked 10 miles or that was your first meal of the day...

I don’t usually comment on people’s food posts beyond, “that looks delicious” or “can I have the recipe”.  Kudos to your son for cooking!

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It's hard to know if it's reasonable because if you eat a really large lunch, that might be enough for dinner.  

In my family, everyone would eat 2-3x that, including the 4 year old.  I would double the salmon and double the veggies but the rice looks about right.  

But it really doesn't matter what anyone else eats.  If that is the potion that satisfies you, then that's fine!  I might place it on a salad plate for photos if you aren't already.  We eat almost every meal off salad plates unless we have guests, but those salad plates are about 90-100% covered in food.

 

Edited by Monica_in_Switzerland
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Ratio wise, I’d be eating a larger portion of salmon compared to the amount of rice and pretending to eat a larger portion of vegetables. 😉

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I tend to eat more at lunch than supper.  If that was lunch I would need at least 2x the amount of salmon.  The rest is normal portions.  If it were supper I would probably eat that amount.

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I eat a small lunch. So, that would be the correct size for my lunch. But, my dinners are bigger and I would have 1.5 times the food on that plate for my dinner (especially more of the veggies).

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