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How Can You Determine Appropriate Portion Size?

July 1, 2012

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Most people in the US are overeating. The amount of food we put on our plates is way too much. This is because most people have no idea what the actual portion sizes of different food groups should be in the first place. Plus fast food chains and restaurants sell oversized portions of cheap, fatty foods. Eating larger serving sizes increases the intake of calories and can ultimately lead to weight gain and obesity. Knowing how much of one food makes up a portion size is important to losing or maintaining weight. Most people don’t feel they have the time to measure out their food everyday. However if you can visually compare the amount of food for each serving size to a common object in your home it will make it easier for you to know how many calories you are consuming. This way you can track your food intake and manage your weight.

Use these common objects to determine the appropriate serving size:

baseball the size of 1 serving of fruit or vegetables
green apple, 1 serving of fruit

1 serving of fruit or vegetables = baseball or fist


1 cup (8 oz) = baseball


tennis ball the size of half of a serving of fruit and vegetable

1/2 cup = tennis ball or light bulb


golf ball a quarter of a serving of fruit

1/4 cup dried fruit or nuts = golf ball


dice, the serving size of cheese

1 serving cheese (2 oz) = 1 domino or 6 dice


deck of cards the serving size of meat fish or poultry

1 serving or meat, fish or poultry = Deck of cards



3 oz serving of fish = checkbook


thumbs up, the tip of the thumb serving size for peanut butter

1 tsp peanut butter = tip of the thumb


poker chips the serving size for butter, margarine, or salad dressing

1 Tbsp butter, margarine, mayonnaise, or salad dressing = one poker chip


1 Tbsp olives (5 medium) = one poker chip

chocolate chip cookie

1 cookie = 2 poker chips


computer mouse the serving size for baked potato

1 serving baked potato = computer mouse


compact disc serving size for waffle or pancake

1 waffle or pancake = CD (compact disc)


stack of chocolate bars

1 oz chocolate = package of dental floss


plate utensils fork knife spoon, serving size

Look at your plate:

1/2 should be filled with vegetables

1/4 protein

1/4 starch