By BARBARA JENSEN

Business Manager

Senior Center of Finney County

Anyone eating on the run or at restaurants probably has noticed that most food portions have gotten larger. Some portions are called "super sized" and others have simply grown in size and provide enough food for at least two people. This growth has increased waistlines and body weights of many Americans.

These ever-larger restaurant portions have changed what Americans think of as a "normal" portion and affected how much we eat at home. It's important to understand the difference between portion size and serving size wherever you eat.

A portion is the amount of food that you choose to eat for a meal or snack. Portions can be big or small it depends on how much you choose to eat.

A serving is a measured amount of food or drink such as one slice of bread or eight ounces of milk. Serving sizes are listed on the Nutrition Facts panels on packaged foods or the amount of food recommended in the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Some foods that we consume as single portions actually contain multiple servings. For example, a 20-ounce soda has two-and-a-half servings and a three-ounce bag of chips has three servings. Such "portion distortions" lead many of us to consume more than the recommended daily servings.

Nutrition recommendations use serving size to help us know how much of different types of foods we should eat to get the nutrients health experts say we need. For example, six to 11 servings of whole grains are recommended daily. If the recommended serving size for whole grain pasta is one-half cup, eating a big bowl of pasta would be a larger portion than the recommended one-half cup serving.

Twenty years ago, a bagel was three inches in diameter and contained 140 calories. Today, a bagel measures six inches and contains 350 calories. A cheeseburger used to contain 333 calories. Today, a single burger can contain 590 calories. A portion of spaghetti and meatballs was one cup of sauce and three small meatballs equaling 500 calories. Today, a portion is two cups of sauce, three large meatballs and 1,020 calories! So, keep an eye on portion size to see how your portions compare with the recommended servings. Source: National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute

Paratransit cards available for 2010

Paratransit cards for the minibus service for 2010 are now available at the Finney County Transit Center. Paratransit cards will expire at the end of the year so don't delay. Come by the transit office, 1008 N. 11th St., to update your information and pick up your free gift. If you are not able to come by the office, call 272-3626 and we will update your information by phone.

You must have a current paratransit card to ride the bus, so be sure to have yours before the end of the year to avoid any disruption of your transportation service.

Wreath class

Patti Thummel is teaching a wreath class beginning at 2 p.m. Dec. 3. The cost of the class is $5. Space is limited, so call 272-3620 to sign up.

We will provide the wreath and other trimmings. You bring five or six photographs you want to display on the wreath. If you have a glue gun, bring it also.

Medicare Part D research class

Space is still available at the Medicare Part D computer research class beginning at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

You must be able to do your own research on the computer with instruction from Norma Nichols. Call 272-3620 to hold a space.

Scheduled activities

Thursday: TOPS will meet at 8:30 a.m. Art class begins at 10 a.m. Ambassador Singers will practice at 1 p.m. The Snooker Tournament begins at 1 p.m. Low Vision Support Group meets at 3 p.m.

Friday: Line dancing starts at 8:30 a.m. STEPS exercise class is at 10 a.m. St. Catherine Hospital will offer a health services nurse to do screenings from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bridge is played at 1 p.m. Nutrition Council meets at 1 p.m.

Saturday: Prairie Land Food pick-up is from 7 to 8 a.m. The pool room will be open from 1 to 4 p.m.

Sunday: Duplicate bridge is played at 1:30 p.m.

Monday: The exercise group meets at 8:30 a.m. STEPS exercise class is at 10 a.m. Humdinger Band will meet at 12:30 p.m. Double pinochle is played at 1 p.m. Upbeats will practice at 3 p.m. Duplicate bridge is played at 7 p.m.

Tuesday: Pitch is played at 12:45 p.m. Duplicate bridge begins at 1:15 p.m. Bingo begins at 1:30 p.m. to play for paper goods. Bridge is played at 7 p.m.

Nov. 25: Foot care appointments will be offered until noon. The Senior Center will close at 1 p.m., immediately following lunch. City Link and Mini Buses will run until 1 p.m. The Senior Center, City Link and Mini Buses will be closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. We wish you a safe and enjoyable holiday.

Lunch menus

Lunch is served at noon.

Thursday: Baked ham, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, broccoli, pineapple upside down cake.

Friday: Salisbury steak with gravy, tri-taters, fruit salad, lemon bars, wheat roll.

Monday: Hamburger with cheese, lettuce and tomato on a bun, tri-taters, peach slices.

Tuesday: Baked fish, au gratin potatoes, winter mix vegetables, peanut butter bars.

Nov. 25: Roast beef, scalloped potatoes, veggies blend, mandarin oranges, wheat bread.

Visit the Senior Center of Finney County Web site at www.seniorcenterfc.com.