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Controlling Portion Sizes

FALLS CHURCH, Va. -- Thanksgiving will be here soon, and with it the temptations that come with everyone's favorite dishes. So as we gather with friends and family to celebrate, we should be mindful of portion sizes.

Prediabetes puts people at increased risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.  It has been estimated that without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15-30 percent of people with prediabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.

According to National Institutes of Health (NIH), a portion is an amount of food you choose to eat for a meal or snack, while a serving is a measured amount of food or drink, such as one slice of bread. This means a single portion can actually consist of multiple servings. Over the past 20 years average portion sizes have grown so much that sometimes there’s enough food for two or three people on one plate. The NIH calls this portion distortion.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you can practice portion control in a number of ways. When eating out you can split an entrée with a friend or eat half of the food on your plate and ask for a “to go box” for the rest. When eating at home, serve food on individual plates instead of putting the serving dishes on the table to discourage overeating. When you eat in front of the TV, put the amount you plan to eat in a bowl or container instead of eating directly from the package.

If you are hungry, try a healthy snack. It will help to prevent overeating later.

For more information on portion control and nutrition check out

If you have questions, you may be able to talk to a nutritionist at your military hospital or clinic. You can also visit the Health and Wellness page of the TRICARE website for tips and resources to help you live a healthier life.