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Hofer: The foods you love. …

Pop quiz: How big was the last burger you ate? Was it bigger than a deck of cards? Maybe it was a double burger with extra cheese? It may be time to rethink not just what’s on your plate but how much is on your plate. And the American Cancer Society can help.

Yes, you can have the foods you love, but if you want to keep your weight in check, just remember what an actual serving size is. … it might be less than you think. We’re a supersized society; even the plates used in restaurants are huge these days, and we’ve grown accustomed to thinking of hefty portions as normal. It’s easy to forget what a reasonable portion size is.

Why is portion size important? Because eating smaller portions is one of the easiest ways to cut back on calories. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of several cancers, including colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, cancers of the breast (among women past menopause), and other organs. The American Cancer Society recommends maintaining a healthy weight and eating healthy to stay well and reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.

How do you know a reasonable portion of food when you see it? Try picturing your food as objects. For instance, one serving might look like:

  • 3 oz. meat – size of a deck of cards or bar of soap
  • 3 oz. fish – size of a checkbook

  • 1 oz. cheese – size of four dice

  • Medium potato – size of a computer mouse

  • 2 tbs. peanut butter – size of a ping pong ball

  • 1/2 cup pasta – size of a tennis ball

  • Average bagel – size of a hockey puck

Packaged foods can also be challenging. When is the last time you really looked at a nutrition facts label on a food package? Doing so can also help you keep your portions under control. For instance, according to the label on the box, your favorite cereal might be just 80 calories per serving. But read a little closer: How big is a serving? With cereal, it’s normally ½ cup. Now, pour out your usual serving size and measure it. Chances are you may be pouring two or three servings into every bowl.

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So go ahead and enjoy the foods you love. Just remember, don’t supersize it.

For more information on how to stay well by living a healthier lifestyle, contact your American Cancer Society at (800) 227-2345 or

About the American Cancer Society

At the American Cancer Society, our vision is a world with less cancer and more birthdays. As part of that vision, we are fighting cancer in every community, for every family, to help save lives. We recognize each community has different needs and we’re here to help everyone stay well and get well, to find cures, and to fight back against cancer. For cancer information, contact us at or (800) 227-2345.

Charlotte Hofer is public relations manager for the American Cancer Society in South Dakota. She is a member of the Native American Journalists Association and is a regular contributor to Indian Country Today. Contact her at

To eat smaller portions try the following: When eating out

Choose a regular burger at your favorite fast food place instead of the supersize burger, and save about 150 calories. Have the small fries instead of the super-sized and save about 300 calories.

Order the small soda. It has about 150 fewer calories than the big one.

Share a meal with a friend when you go to a restaurant.

Take half your meal home and eat it for lunch the next day.

At home

Don’t “eat from the bag.” Place a few chips or crackers in a bowl to prevent overeating. Buy single-size portions of snacks so you’re not tempted to eat the whole bag or box.

Like butter and sour cream on your baked potato? Mayonnaise on your sandwich? Cream cheese on your bagel? Use half the amount you usually do – and save even more calories by using lower-fat varieties.