Numbers, Sizes, and Food

The controversial obesity epidemic in the United States has many of us assessing our food intake, looking at serving sizes and wondering: Why the sizes represented on the sides of containers are not the same as the amount of food on our plates? Considering our serving sizes do not correspond with the packaging: What about the calories, fats, carbs, and sodium that we are taking in? And, how can I tell if the numbers on the box are good or bad?

When the serving sizes are adjusted to the amounts of what American’s really put on their plates, it would be clear that prepared processed foods are unhealthy.

Serving sizes are individualized. As the server, we know how much everybody is eating. If the amounts are multiplied by the amount of servings in the container it is easier to figure out what is being taken in by dividing the total by how the food is really put on the plates.

Example: A traditional family: husband, wife, and two children = four plates, portions distributed unequally.  A popular processed box Macaroni and Cheese dish with very little nutritional value, what is called empty calories. Let’s consider how a family might eat and the corresponding values when redistributed in consideration of how these plates are proportioned.

(Note: I do not recommend processed foods. I am doing this to prove the point that although this is fast and easy, this in not good.)

If you are serving a processed food better less than more. If this is not enough add another vegetable to their plates.


1 Pot of Macaroni and Cheese             Calories-Fat-Cholesterol-Sodium-Carbohydrates       2 boxes = 6 cups/serving            2460       12g      90mg        3480mg       288g

1 cup = 1 serving                                410         29%       5%           580mg         16%

2 cups husbands plate                           820         58%      10%         1160mg           32%

1 1/2 cups wifes plate                            615         43.5%     7.5%         870mg           24%

1 1/4 cups child                                      512.5      36.25%   6.25%       725mg            20%

1 1/4 cups child                                      512.5       36.25%   6.25%      725mg            20%

As for what this all means, here are a few guidelines and recommendations.

To understand how much sodium/salt is too much:

The American Heart Association recommends that we “Aim to eat less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.”

Most of us know that everyone in the family shouldn’t eat the same amount. We want everyone to be satisfied, but how many calories are recommended for the different people who make up my family? So, I have for you here:

The estimates daily calorie intake range from 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines.

  • Young Children range from 1,000 to 2,000 calories per day.
  • Older Children and Adolescents varies substantially from 1,400 to 3,200 calories per day, with boys generally having higher calorie needs than girls.
  • Adult Women 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day.
  • Adult Men 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day

*The amount of calories within the range depends on age and physical activity level.

Was this was helpful to you?  Would you like more dietary posts? Please leave your comments and questions.



About Aligaeta

I am a life time resident of NY State. A graduate of Nassau Community College, AA in Liberal Arts and Queens College, BA in English and Sociology. I am the mother of four children, the survivor of divorce, and I love to write in prose. This blog will be a record of my journey... destination unknown. Read more...
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4 Responses to Numbers, Sizes, and Food

  1. jannatwrites says:

    I’d love to say that we NEVER eat processed foods, but I can’t. I do try to make healthier choices, though. For instance, whole wheat bread & tortillas instead of white/flour, unbreaded chicken breasts (breading adds sodium & carbs), and no soda in the house.

    We also watch our sugar intake – it’s amazing (scary) how much sugar is in certain foods. For a time, we followed a diet that limited sugar intake to 15 grams a day and I felt so much better. We fell off the wagon on a vacation and I haven’t been able to completely break the sugar addiction again since then.

    Our kids are rail-thin so I’m not concerned about obesity right now. My priority is to teach them healthy habits for when they are adults. Time will tell whether or not we’ve succeeded..

    • Aligaeta says:

      I occasionally eat processed foods or most likely I find myself making sauces (adding fats) to dishes then kicking myself later. To defend my fatty extras of the week: I use sour cream instead of heavy cream when making alfredo sauce and half milk/ half cream in the potato leek soup.

      I always have two veggies on the dinner plates, unfortunate for the others in the house who think that means: either/or.

  2. fishesweb says:

    Ahhh, macaroni and cheese out of the blue box… real comfort food… I ate a lot of that stuff in my early working days due to lack of funds for food or much else. But it is BAD and I eat much the wiser now… no sugar, lots of veggies and salads, small portions of meat or fish and small pieces of very dark chocolate for treats. When I get hungry, I drink water first! I don’t miss sweet things anymore and I feel more energetic… and healthy!

    As for the employment situation, I think it is still dismal in most places… but your afghan is beautiful! Maybe you could sell them? It’s so calming to sit down and crochet.. meditative almost, and the larger it gets the warmer it is. Thanks for your posts! I enjoy them. Hang in there.

    • Aligaeta says:

      I love that guilt free dark chocolate : )

      I thought of selling scarfs and afghan’s made to order but I keep thinking… I’m going back to work, I won’t have time at some point the harsh reality is going to hit. I don’t see anything getting better. The afghan is quite large now, two more days and I’ll be calling it done. Then, back to the scarfs. I have one 1/3 of the way done for my son and the ‘freshie’ is getting a burgundy scarf, big holes and tassels.

      I’m so happy to hear your enjoying my posts.

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