7 Serving-Size Recommendations I Routinely Disregard

Never do I more blatantly engage in self-denial than when I’m grocery shopping. This can manifest in many ways: the bag of frozen peas and carrots I once kept in my freezer for two years, the unopened bag of fresh spinach I’ve been known to toss three weeks after purchasing, the whole-grain pasta that sits ignored on my shelf as the regular kind gets eaten and replaced. But never does my self-deception more beautifully bloom than when I’m justifying the purchase of packaged snacks.

“This time will be different,” I think, tossing a bag of Snapea Crisps into my basket, pretending I don’t have a well-documented history of downing the whole bag in a single sitting. I’m not like this with all snacks, just a very consistent few for which I very consistently delude myself. Who I actually am and how I actually behave become, in a word, inconsequential. After polling the office and confirming I’m not alone here, I’ve documented them below as a convoluted form of exposure therapy for us all. Let’s start with the little fuckers that inspired this story…

1. Snapea Crisps


First and foremost, snap peas are legumes, so binging on them is basically like charity for your body. That said, a single bag purports to contains 3.5 servings. This is a claim for which I have no supporting evidence. The ratio of times I’ve purchased them to times I’ve seen a chip-clipped bag of them in my pantry is infinity:never.

2. Pre-popped kettle popcorn


The problem with pre-popped popcorn is the massive bag in which its served. It’s so big that I buy it with little concern for the possibility that I just might wolf it down in its entirety because I mean, jesus, wouldn’t that be a bit much? The bad news is it’s really not. The good news is popcorn is just dressed-up air.

3. A bag of grapes


Grapes are easy to knock back emotionally, because they’re technically fruit but taste like nature’s Skittles. Every time I buy grapes I assume they’ll last me all week and they’re always gone in a few days. Or completely forgotten until they wilt into homemade raisins. Nothing in between.

4. A box of Mac n Cheese


You’re so not saving the other half in a tupperware for later. Stop lying.

5. A pint of ice cream


The ice cream pint consumed in one or perhaps two sittings is what I call a slippery dessert slope. “Omg, no way could I eat all this,” I think, 10 minutes in, “I doubt I’ll even eat half!” What follows is an ice cream blackhole, only broken by the sound of my spoon hitting the cardboard-y bottom. Horrified, I think about stopping, but then it’s like, basically gone already so fuck it, right?

6. A box of crackers


My irresponsibility around crackers varies by type, but for the most part I snack on them like I snack on popcorn, see #2. They aren’t inherently bad for me, but I treat them like fucking dessert meaning the whole stop-when-I’m-full mentality goes out the window.

7. A bar of dark chocolate


Buying dark chocolate requires some serious mental hoop jumping A.K.A. lying, because I’ve literally never practiced moderation with it, ever. I’m so convinced I’m just one bar away from becoming the kind of person who keeps it in her freezer and snaps off a square for an occasional treat that I’m always willing to give it a shot. Never give up on your dreams, you know?

What lies are you telling yourself in the grocery store?

Illustrations by Maria Jia Ling Pitt. 

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  • Abby

    The Snap Pea crisps thing isn’t your fault, they don’t come in a resealable bag! If they want you to respect the serving sizes then they need to put a ziplock on that bad boy.

    • Marie E

      AGREED re snap peas!

    • Aydan

      god but could we ever resist?!

  • Kristen Mortimer

    I’ve never identified with an article more. I always buy an entire box of Ritz crackers to make my mom’s meatloaf. I only use one sleeve for the loaf and the rest gets devoured within a week. No carb is left behind in my home.

  • Amelia Diamond

    I could eat so much kettle corn that I scare myself.

    • Olivia

      I once misread the bag, got really excited, and then realized I literally ate 600 calories worth of kettle corn… I was horrified and impressed by myself.

      • Grace B

        I can’t buy it anymore….I will eat a whole bag!!!

  • Lucy

    i’m 21, never had a grape but love skittles!!!!

  • Kelsey Moody

    The most unnecessary product ever made since there are never any lefts overs in my freezer…. #nopintleftbehind


  • Oh, Haley, you have spoken to me on such a deep emotional level. Whole Foods is currently stocking what is to my taste buds a drug in a bag: Late July Jalapeno Lime chips.

    Last time I was there I paused in front of their (on sale!) vibrant display and quite literally *glared* at them before willing myself to walk away. It was a sad moment.

  • I met someone recently who said that every night after dinner he, his wife and son all have ONE square of chocolate and then put the block away. I couldn’t believe that kind of self control (torture?) existed!

    • XJ JX

      My parents are the same way!

    • I feel like that’s very Criminal Minds. Can’t you imagine a neurotic family doing that in the opening scene of a crime show show and then, like, murdering someone?

    • Grace B

      A friend told me she has ice cream for a snack every night and it takes weeks for her to finish a pint? tub? I’m not sure. But uh, I definitely can eat a whole pint in a sitting…so these self-control people are out there!!

  • “This bottle of wine will last a few days!”

    • Aydan


  • estheresther

    One tip: get chilli dark chocolate. I can never have more than 1-2 squares!!
    My own personal snack enemy: plantain chips 😮

  • Pickles. Whole Foods has jalapeño mango pickles. My bf and I don’t get them often because 1. they ain’t cheap and 2. they don’t last long bc they’re sooo gooood.

    • Aydan

      WHAT?! seeking this out tonight.

  • mapillski

    I regularly finish off a whole bag of baby carrots in one sitting. How my hair isn’t reflective it’s so shiny is beyond me.

    • Ana P

      Sometimes I eat an entire box of cookies and have to convince myself it was something healthy like baby carrots…

  • Kirsten Gerrie

    This article resonates with me on a very deep level.

  • Rheanonn Perez

    “i’ll buy it, i just won’t snack on it at night!”

  • Rheanonn Perez

    “should i buy soda? no, i’ll just drink water instead like i’m supposed to”
    *gets home, makes a meal*

  • Hahahaha, me as hell.

    “I’m so convinced I’m just one bar away from becoming the kind of person who keeps it in her freezer and snaps off a square for an occasional treat that I’m always willing to give it a shot.”

  • literarity

    It’s not that I don’t portion out ice cream, it’s that after a serving of ice cream, all subsequent meals become 100% ice cream until the ice cream is gone.

  • abby

    Rice crackers, man. Rice. Crackers. Greatest disappearing act I’ve ever witnessed.

    • Lindsey

      Yes! The edamame rice crackers from Trader Joe’s are insanely addicting!!

  • beccamu

    Honestly, bread. The good kind that’s $7 in the bakery section at Whole Foods (looking at you, Rosemary Olive Oil Loaf). I buy one loaf/week, but eat it in one day (it serves 8… ?!). I am the Oprah meme

  • elpug

    Also Granola. No way am I just eating a 1/4 cup, I just took two handfuls!

  • ValiantlyVarnished

    I have always said suggested serving sizes are for the weak. Don’t be a follower – be a leader. Eat the whole damn pint of ice cream! Which I do – because I’m a leader.

  • Summer

    Goldfish…. I open the bag and in ONE BLINK, they are all gone and I’m so thirsty I could drink a lake. WHAT IS THIS SORCERY???? I have no idea how many calories/ grams of sodium the bag contains bc I fully believe some amount of denial is healthy

    • Haley Nahman

      yes goldfish!!!

    • Jessyca Taef


  • Gwyn

    idc a serving size = one bag IDC

  • Gwyn

    dark chocolate is basically vegetables

    • I HAD to reply to this comment because it is pretty much the best comment I’ve read in my life – I want it on a t-shirt!

  • This is me. I have never once seen a suggested serving and gone “yes, this feels like the amount that I want” never!

    – Natalie

  • Jenn K.

    The Caesar dressing Snappeas, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Michelina’s Buffalo Chicken Snackers, and Oreos. Zero self-control when it comes to these. My husband thinks he’s being nice when he brings these home from the store and I’m like, “don’t you understand what you’re doing to me?!” He doesn’t. He doesn’t seem to have a weak will that he only remembers when he’s licking flamin’ hot dust off his self-loathing fingers.

  • TinySoprano

    My mother and I are total weirdos who frequently polish off whole tins of anchovies in one sitting.

  • Basically anything mini. My closest grocery store has a lot of varieties of mini desserts (brownies, cookies, tarts, cream puffs) and I always end up eating the entire pack. Once my mom gave me some chocolates that came in bars individually wrapped in the box and said, “these are so handy for putting in your bag if you just want one little treat!” I was like LOL and ate the whole box in one night.
    And of course ice cream.

    • Ana P

      This speaks to me! My mom has mini MUFFINS on the counter at all times in her kitchen. Let’s just say when I go home the entire box ~mysteriously~ disappears.

  • Sam


  • If you think your grapes might be veering into homemade raisin territory, throw them in the freezer! Frozen grapes are like tiny mini fruit slushies and you don’t have to worry about their aging texture.

  • White cheddar smartfood. large party bag. the whole thing. c ya!

    • Haley Nahman

      lolol same

  • A Local Honey


  • motherfucking cereal. what kind of person can have one serving… teach me!

  • Ana Balenovic

    Hi Haley:) to funny and so absolutely true. I share all this to well… the grapes situation happens all the time, lol.
    X, Ana

  • Jessie Buckmaster

    A serving size of avocado = 1/4 of an avocado. Um, no.

  • Alyssa

    Kettle corn and crackers are my VICE. Theres no way they’ll be hanging around for longer than an hour

  • PCE

    Peanut OR peanut butter m&ms. God help me if someone buys the Costco-size bag.

  • Chelsea D

    I do not believe that the people who need to keep their dark chocolate in the freezer and have “one bite before bed” are real.

  • Olivia Lauren Hawk Moore

    Tortilla chips and pimento cheese… also THE GRAPES. Literally just picked up a raisiny bag from the fridge.

  • Olivia Lauren Hawk Moore

    Also really important to this list is the addition of any kind of Girl Scout cookie