Our next family experiment – Portion Plates to the rescue

We have always watched portions in our house. Not only does it keep the weight down but it keeps our food budget reasonable. Meat is doled out in ounce servings as opposed to the poundage amounts you sometimes get in restaurants. We load up on vegetables and fruit. We don’t eat tons of starches. Junk food although not entirely out of the house is certainly at a minimum usually relegated to holiday celebrations. We never eat fast food.

Even our snacks are measured by custard-dish sizes.

So imagine my surprise when my oldest son, Spencer, came home from college after about 2 months and was 30 pounds heavier. (And I know how heavy he was because he came home sick and he was weighed at the Doctor’s office.)

30 pounds in 2 months!

It’s the unlimited amount of food, he told me. They have ice cream available after every meal. I can have hot chocolate with my dinner.

I realized that my kids were not as aware of portion sizes and proper eating skills as I had thought. I had some work to do.

I sat down with Spencer and explained that dessert was not something he should have everyday. I told him to pick a day of the week and have dessert only on that day.

We talked about loading up on vegetables and salad. About not having tons of French Fries just because they were available. About having water (yup, good ‘ol water) with your meals instead of including sugary drinks.

Spencer has dropped most of that weight but I wonder if it will stay off and I wonder how my other kids will behave once they are in a “no-limit cafeteria” setting.

In an effort to teach my kids (and I mean REALLY teach my kids) life long portion control skills, for the next month, our family is going to be using Portion Plates for dinner.

Portion Plates are like portion control guidelines for dummies. On each plate is a picture of what a portion should look like based on whether you are an adult or child. For example, on the adult plate there is a picture of a baseball that roughly equals one cup of fruits or vegetables. The protein portion for kids is the size of a box of 8 crayons.

Kid's plate

Each of these portion plates also came with a placemat that goes into more detail about how the plates work and what healthy eating habits are.

In discussion with the Portion Plates people, I decided to use the Kid’s Portion Plates for my two youngest children (ages 10 and 11) and use the adult sized plates for the adults and the 4 teenaged boys (ages 13, 14, 16 and 18). And yes, I’m sending a plate to my son at college for him to use at dinner time.

Adult's plate

It’s important to note that this is not a weight-loss program. I am not trying to get any of my kids to lose weight. Instead this is a life skills program where I hope my kids will learn the skills they’ll need to navigate eating food outside our house.

The plan is to use these plates for the entire month. We’ll even be taking them to a restaurant to compare what we are given with what is recommended. After the month I plan on taking the plates away and seeing how we all do.

With so many kids and adults considered obese in the United States and with so many medical costs associated with ailments directly related to being obese. These Portion Plates just might be one of the best investments I could make for my kids.

Hey, I have to take care of these guys.

I’ll be keeping you updated on the progress.

I received samples of these products from the manufacturer for review. I received no other compensation for this post. My words and my opinions are my own.


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Filed under Portion Plates experiment, Product Review, Teaching kids

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