Thinking About So-Called “Thoughtful Portions ™”

We’ve been in quarantine for almost a month now. Julianne is in a high-risk group because of her asthma and we are both concerned that our care would be compromised by fatphobia if we were to get sick, so we’ve tried to minimize even the number of interactions we have with people bringing things to the house. Thus, we’ve been cooking every meal. We bought some freezer meals to have quick and easy options.  As I was turning the box around looking for instructions I found this.

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A picture of directions from a box of food. It says “THOUGHTFUL PORTION ™ 1 Portion = 1/7 tray
First of all, a portion is 1/7 of the tray? This is a rectangular casserole – does this thing come with a compass and a protractor? I imagine they are manipulating this to try to get the nutrition information to read a certain way, but it’s clearly ridiculous. That they trademarked “thoughtful portion” is even more ridiculous.

But that’s ok because, in truth, the entire premise is bonkers. Eating the amount of food prescribed by the box regardless of any of the many, many factors that might contribute to the amount of food that you want/need is the OPPOSITE of thoughtful. This is a thoughtless portion.

This is what diet culture does. It teaches us that we can’t trust our hunger and fullness queues – that the frozen food box knows more than our bodies do about what and how much we should eat. We are taught that food should be a tool we use to manipulate our body size (as if that’s actually possible,) and that none of the many processes that our body has to communicate its needs are valuable, helpful, or reliable. That is bullshit. Just eat the damn casserole. Or don’t. Your call.

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8 thoughts on “Thinking About So-Called “Thoughtful Portions ™”

  1. I… I’m sorry. Calling it a “Thoughtful” portion is giving me all kinds of hilarious mental images, like if I somehow manage to extract exactly 1/7th of of a tray designed to be most easily cut into eighths, the casserole will transform into a Good Guy Greg made out of casserole and dry the dishes I’m washing without me asking it to, confirm I’m done watching my show before changing the TV channel, come home from the store with the thing I forgot because it remembered…

  2. I think what it really is , is 14.6 lawyers on their public relations side, talked to 4.6 dieticians who answered a 3 page questionnaire about how many calories make a pound on a woman between 1.55488 and 1.57528 tall and weighing approximately 110 to 167 pounds, in the US, during the last quarter of the fiscal year, to mitigate any possible resulting lawsuits ala ‘McDonalds made me fat’.

    “Your honor, members of the jury, we at ‘Slay it, Fillet it and Nuke It Now’, very particularly stated ON THE PACKAGE the exact portion to consume to insure no weight gain when ingesting the product.”

  3. I like the idea of MEASURED portions. You know, so you can tell how much of which nutrient you’re getting. You want to have enough, but at the same time, you want to avoid overdosing. Yes, it’s possible to overdose even on good things, especially if you have a condition that requires keeping certain good things, such as potassium, for kidney dialysis patients, in a certain range. There are many reasons to watch your diet, besides weight loss, and that information is important.

    Measured portion, or serving size, as most nutrition labels call it, is just fine by me. The more information you have, the better. Please, let us take out the guesswork of “Is this going to require a Renvela pill, or am I good to go if I stick with one measured portion? Should I enjoy half a portion, instead? Do I need to balance it out with something else? Is this ‘entree’ really the side dish of my meal?”

    But “Thoughtful portion”? Dude. No.

    Also, not to criticize, but to educate, “queue” means a line, like a printer queue, or the queue at a ticket kiosk. “Cue” means someone or something prompting you to do a thing, such as “Sir Ian, please give me my cue.” I do try not to be one of the grammar police, who use a simple spelling mistake to tear down a thoughtful and reasonable argument, because I don’t have facts to support my own argument, but there are plenty out there, so the less ammunition you give them, the more they’ll just look stupid arguing with you. So education is good, right? Granted, *we* don’t have to read those idiotic arguments, because you moderate this space, but *you* have to deal with the haters. Ugh. Pointing out other people’s grammar mistakes neither makes you smarter than them, nor makes your argument correct, nor makes their argument incorrect. It’s only OK in the spirit of cooperative education. You educate me with your vast array of knowledge on how to deal with fat-phobia, and I can educate you on some vocabulary. Yay!

    Really, I could never do your job. I do NOT have the skills, nor the mental stamina.

    I recently discovered an absolute LOVE of flavored seltzer water. It is SO refreshing! But I do not like La Croix, and what they have printed on their boxes and cans. It’s great to say it has no calories, no sweetener, and no sodium, but saying “0 calories + 0 sweetener + 0 sodium = Innocent” just annoys the heck out of me. FOOD HAS NO MORAL VALUE. FOOD HAS NO GUILT OR INNOCENCE. I drink it because I jolly well enjoy it, and it makes me feel good.

    Fortunately, my store brand sparkly water is both delicious, and sensibly packaged. Plus, it’s a bit cheaper! But for now, I take what I can get, and pay what I have to pay, to get drinking water.

  4. Thoughtful portion’ reminds of the bags of candy or chips I buy which assert in large letters that these bags are ‘sharing size’ because apparently, if they did not tell me this, I would just sit right down & devour an 11-ounce bag of chips at once. Though I agree that it is fine to tell us the nutrition information about the food inside the package because some people have medical reasons why they need to know. Just don’t pull the paternalistic BS & point out to me that I should not eat the whole thing in one sitting because I cannot be trusted to decide how much to eat.

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