Food and Nutrition

How to Eyeball Correctly Sized Food Portions

| by Mitzi Dulan

Portion Control: It has been said more than once: the key to weight loss is through portion control. This is true. I have seen it over the last 16 years with my own clients. But what constitutes correct portions?

Portioning out servings to the appropriate sizes helps to manage food group intake by limiting your intake of certain foods, encouraging generous portions of nutrient dense foods and creating balanced meals and food plans.

What are appropriate serving sizes?

A good way to control your portions is to eyeball your food in terms of sizes you know. For example, the palm of a woman’s hand is approximately 3 oz and the palm of man’s hand is approximately 4 oz (adjusting for larger women and smaller men), which is typically the amount of fish, chicken or meat that should be the goal at lunch and dinner each day.

Planning meals helps you control portions and the amounts of certain types of food you want to be incorporating into your diet. If eating away from home, check the menu online beforehand if you know where you will be eating to identify the calorie level of the menu items you will be ordering so you can adjust as necessary. Try to avoid fast food places with few nutritious choices that may be too high in fat or calories. Make it a habit to eat sitting down, from one plate, while chewing slowly, to savor your food and make the most of the portions you have given yourself.

Some good portions to go by…

•Size of a woman’s fist= one serving of fruit or vegetables

•Tennis ball= ½ cup frozen yogurt

•Tip of your thumb= 1 tsp of peanut butter

•Checkbook= 1 serving size of fish (~3 oz)

•Deck of cards/ palm of your hand= 1 serving of meat

•Golf ball or large egg = ¼ cup of nuts or dried fruit

•Rounded handful= ½ cup rice or pasta

•CD= 1 pancake or waffle

•Computer mouse= 1 baked potato

Other easy ways to reduce portions: share an appetizer and entree, buy smaller plates at home, and ALWAYS stop eating when you are satisfied! Remember the key to a balanced and satisfying diet is portion control!

Assistance provided by Stephanie Horvath