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How to Eat the Right Proportions of Food

By Chris Sherwood

Maintaining a healthy weight largely depends on the types and amounts of foods you consume every day. However, the typical American proportion size, whether eating out or eating at home, is often much larger than your body needs. Large portion sizes lead to overeating, which increases calorie intake and results in weight gain. Practice healthful portion sizes by remembering a few different visual cues.

Calculate grain portions such as pasta, rice, and bread by imagining the size of a hockey puck. This comes to about 1/2 cup. For cereal, think about the size of your fist, or about 1 cup.

Determine your fish portion size by imagining your checkbook, or about 3 ounces. Measure other meat portion sizes to about the size of a deck of cards, or the palm of your hand, which is about 3 ounces.

Measure your vegetables by thinking about your closed fist, or a baseball. This is about the right serving for most vegetables at 1 cup. Fruits contain more sugars and typically more calories, and as such need a smaller portion size. Think of half a baseball for fruit, or about 1/2 cup. For dried fruit, think of a large egg or golf ball, or about 1/4 cup.

Calculate fats like peanut butter or olive oil by imagining two dice. Each one represents about 1 teaspoon.

Measure dairy products like cheese with the size of six dice. This comes out to about 1 1/2 ounces. Ice cream can also be measured by imagining a tennis ball, or about 1/2 cup.


Portion size can also be controlled by looking at the nutrition label on the back of your foods. Compare the portion size to the calories per portion.

If visual cues do not work for you, measure your food using a food scale and package the servings individually in your fridge.

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