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When Size Matters

When Size Matters

Over the summer, when my partner was pregnant, we got into the habit of making a Friday night trip to our local ice cream shop. One night I was amused to notice the words “child’s size” appear on the cash register display when the cashier was ringing through my request for a small cup of the soft serve ice cream.

The cup was about 8 fluid ounces (250 ml) and provided what I thought would be enough to satisfy my sweet tooth but, not enough to wallop me with a lot of extra calories. Apparently, what I consider to be a reasonable sized treat for myself is the same size that is marketed to kids.  That’s saying something about portion distortion.

It can be hard to resist the temptation to super-size an order. When a food or drink comes in multiple serving sizes, it’s often priced using the “pay a little more, get a lot more” strategy. What tends to happen is that we buy more than we need or even want, in order to get the best value for our money. However, what seems like a little extra money well spent can really add a lot of extra calories if you scale up your order from the smallest to the largest (and best monetary value) serving size. 

The time spent standing in line waiting to make a food or beverage order presents a good opportunity to use mindful eating strategies. Here are a few strategies that have helped me to resist the lure of supersizing:

  • I temporarily ignore the price and ask myself “what size would satisfy me”? I then choose the smallest size I find satisfying.
  • I split a larger size with a family member or friend. This way I can save some money and enjoy the act of sharing food.
  • Because the terms “small, medium, large and extra-large” are not standardized across restaurants, I may ask “how big is that serving?” to get a better sense of how much I’d really be getting.

How do you handle the super-sizing trap?

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