How to Watch Your Wine Portions

how to watch your wine portions

This is the time of year when you start seeing tons of stories on how not to eat 9,000 calories at holiday meals, or which holiday party snacks and treats will make it least likely that your jeans don’t fit come January 1. All good stuff, and it’s so nice to know that pumpkin pie, my very favorite, is one of the least caloric holiday desserts out there. (Not that I’d avoid it otherwise. Now, I can just have two slices.)

But I’d venture to guess that alcohol has the potential to play just as big a role in the potential for holiday weight gain. Really, it might even be more dangerous, since the body isn’t very good at sending out satiety signals for liquid calories the way it is with solid ones. Plus, the more you drink, the sillier you get, and you tend to lose all sense of sanity when it comes to your food choices.

Above all, though, is that it’s really hard to accurately eyeball portion sizes for wine. You can blame that on the bartender: Restaurants and bars aim to pour six-ounce servings, but many pour more—up to eight ounces. Even though a proper wine serving is just five ounces, most of us have become accustomed to a more generous pour.

Happily, I came across a recent study by the great folks at Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab which unearthed some of the visual tricks that cause us to pour ourselves more wine than we might’ve intended to. What’s more, it’s a goldmine of smart tips for how to portion out less vino—and still feel satisfied. Take a look!

Use a narrow glass. Compared to wider ones, narrow glasses cause people to pour around 12 percent less wine.

Hold your glass. Keeping it in your hand while pouring will encourage you to dole out less than if you placed it on the table.

Pour for yourself. Only if you’re able to do so without it being weird, of course. You’ll likely be more mindful of portion size than if someone else is pouring the wine for you.

Go for red. In the study, white wine drinkers poured themselves nearly 10 percent more than those who chose red, likely because the color contrast isn’t as striking. Plus, who wants to drink chilly white wine when it’s cold out?

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