Getting your food portion sizes right is super important for a healthy body and weight management.
It can also be super annoying if it means lots of math, right?
But, does it have to be?
I don’t know about you, but doing math to plan dinner isn’t my idea of fun. And here at Diet Rebel, counting calories is a serious drag.
What you will discover today is that you can dramatically simplify estimating food portions by using the strategies I use all the time.
For healthy eating to stick, it needs to be as easy as possible, otherwise we get fed up and simply go back to eating the way we did before.
So what that said, what is a healthy portion of food?
With the current trend to super-size meals, it can be really tough to figure out what ‘normal’ food portion sizes actually look like.
Food Portion Sizes vs Serving Sizes
For clarity, let’s clear up what we mean by a portion and a serving…
A food serving helps you understand how much food is recommended from each of the food groups.
In some cases, a food serving may be close to what you actually eat, such as an apple. Eating one apple is eating a serving.
At other times, you may find that you often serve more than one serving, especially with something like rice or pasta. This is a portion.
A portion is the amount of food you choose to eat.
Since it’s totally impractical to carry food scales with us everyday in life to measure out the perfect food portion, being able to estimate what a serving should look like is really helpful in making sure we don’t overeat.
Often we remember items easier when we can visualize their size, shape or weight, in comparison to something else.
So, relating food portion size to everyday items is an effective method to use, particularly when eating away from home.
Here are some serving size examples…
A rounded handful
One 1/2 cup vegetables or fruit, 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta, or a snack serving of crisps or pretzels
Another way of visualizing a serving of vegetables, or one piece of whole fruit
Small handful or golf ball
1/4 cup of dried fruit
1 oz serving of meat, or a serving of cheese
Deck of cards, or the palm of your hand (excluding fingers)
3oz serving (recommended serving) of meat, fish or poultry, or ten chips/french fries
Serving of fish (approximately 3 oz)
1/2 cup of pasta, or a serving of ice cream
Medium baked potato
One serving of pancake or small waffle
Thumb tip or one dice
One teaspoon of margarine
A ping pong ball
Two tablespoons of peanut butter
Small milk carton
8 fl oz glass of milk
8 fl oz cup of yogurt, one cup of beans, or one cup of dry cereal
It would also be helpful to weigh out some of your favorite foods, and try to remember what they look like on your plate.
You will then be able to see what a 1/2 cup, or 3 oz serving looks like, for example.
This will help you to visualize what an appropriate serving looks like, and it will go a long way to help to prevent overeating, too.
I also did a followup article which you can check out on food portion sizes.