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Portion Distortion – Nutrition Education Program

A portion of food is defined as how much food you choose to eat at one time, whether it be a home-cooked meal or one from a restaurant or grocery store. Over the past few years, the portion sizes of pre-packed foods, beverages, and even fast foods have increased largely. This can make it difficult for us to know how much food our body actually needs in a day and cause us to overeat or overindulge. Eating oversized portions every day can also add “empty calories” to our diets which can make it harder for us to eat a balanced diet.

How can portion control benefit our bodies?

Knowing the recommended portion sizes of certain foods and beverages can help us to:

Maintain a healthy weight (without gaining or losing too much weight)

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Stay within a food budget and healthy calorie intake

Vegetables Squash GIF by The Nightly Show

Eat a balanced diet that includes as many of the 5 food groups as possible (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, & dairy)

Chef Smile GIF by Cucchiaio d'Argento

Getting a HANDle on portions…

We can actually use our hands to measure out healthy portion sizes of certain foods. Our hands can also be helpful if you do not have access to measuring cups, spoons, or food scales at a given time!

Recipe of the Month: Grilled Cheese w/ Peaches


  • 8 slices whole grain bread
  • 1, 15-oz can of peaches, drained
  • 8 slices low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 7.5 cups spinach
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil


  • Heat the 4 tsp of vegetable oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat.
  • Place 4 slices of whole grain bread in the pan.
  • Layer (in this order) one slice of cheese, a handful of spinach, 4 to 6 peach slices, another slice of cheese, and a slice of bread on top of each original slice of bread.
  • After 4 to 5 minutes, flip each sandwich and cook another 4 to 5 minutes.

Recipe Source: Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, myplategov.

Material for this article was sourced from Just Say Yes to Fruits & Vegetables, Lesson 6: Portion Sizes. Download English Newsletter | Download Spanish Newsletter

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through the PA Department of Human Services (DHS).

About CAP’s Nutrition Education Program:

The Nutrition Education Program (NEP), also known as SNAP-Ed, helps children and families understand the importance of eating fresh, healthy foods through education, cooking demonstrations, and recipe tastings. NEP helps children and families understand the importance of eating fresh, healthy foods through education, cooking demonstrations, and recipe tastings. Experiential learning is used to promote healthy lifestyle changes related to nutrition and physical activity. NEP offers children and adults the chance to try new foods that are healthy and budget-friendly! For more information, visit​​​​

About Community Action Partnership (CAP) of Lancaster County

The Community Action Partnership is Lancaster County’s largest anti-poverty organization, helping low-income families move toward economic empowerment. CAP’s service profile interrupts inter-generational poverty with programs that support families and individuals at every age and place in life, in the areas of education and child development, health and nutrition, household stability, and safety and empowerment. For more information, visit​​​​.