The MDI Hospital cafeteria recently pioneered a four-week Portion Awareness Campaign for employees. The campaign provided information on the recommended portion for each meal served at lunch, as well as the caloric value and fat content of the meal.
“The goal of this campaign is to provide employees with information so they understand and manage their own portion control,” said Marybeth Judy, MS, RD, LD, Manager of the Hospital’s Nutrition Services.
The campaign included a display, placed outside the cafeteria, that included common objects to help illustrate portion sizes. “The average portion of meat should be 3 ounces which is the size of a deck of cards,” said Ms. Judy. “A portion of cheese is one ounce which is the same as four playing dice, and a serving of trail mix or nuts that so many of us love to snack on is only about the size of a golf ball.
“The reaction of employees to these portion sizes was predictably one of shock,” said Ms. Judy. “Not only was it surprising that the average portion sizes had increased that much over the years, but learning that the mound of mashed potatoes on their plate should only be about the size of half a baseball was a reality check.”
The campaign was a success, she explained. “Employees became more confident in managing the recommended portion sizes by the end of the campaign.” MDI Hospital employee Brent Cook paid close attention to the information provided during this campaign and it shows. By consuming recommended portion sizes, and refraining from going back for that second helping, Brent managed to drop 10 pounds in just 4 weeks.
The display has traveled to the Hospital’s health centers and the Jackson Lab and will continue to provide awareness of portion sizes to the community. “As the importance of employee wellness programs continues to grow, campaigns and programs like this will become more and more frequent,” said Ms. Judy.