If you’re trying to lose weight or want to maintain a healthy weight, how much you eat is as important as what you eat. Americans have gotten used to larger and larger portions of food when they eat out and many have lost sight of what a healthy portion of food looks like.
You can’t assume that whatever is served on your plate at a restaurant constitutes a single portion. More than likely, that one meal in front of you is two or more portions, even though you may choose to eat it all in one sitting. But if you do that at every meal, day in and day out, you’ll find it hard to maintain a healthy weight.
No one wants to consistently be using measuring cups and spoons or a food scale. And unless you are on a very restricted diet or just need a temporary “reset,” you don’t have to be. Learning to eyeball proper serving sizes will help you stay healthier and keep your weight in check.
Here are some easy ways to determine healthy servings:
Meat – A serving of cooked meat or poultry is about 3-4 ounces. That’s about the size of your palm or a bar of soap. If you’re a guy and your palm is larger, that’s okay because you’ll likely want a larger portion of 4-6 ounces of meat.
Fish – A 3-ounce serving of fish is about the size of your checkbook.
Burgers – A healthy-size burger, whether beef or turkey, should be around the size of a hockey puck.
Pasta – No, that huge bowl of pasta in front of you is not a single serving. In fact, you may be surprised when you see that one serving of pasta, which is about ½ cup, is only the size of your closed fist.
Cereal – Don’t keep pouring that cereal out of the box until the bowl is full. One cup of cereal is about the size of a baseball and will likely only fill half of your large bowl.
Cheese – When you’re eating hard cubed cheese, such as cheddar, keep to the size of a pair of dice or the size of your thumb. That’s about 1 ounce.
Whole fruit – Just because fruit is healthy doesn’t mean you should eat the largest apple you can find or a humongous orange and call it one serving. A whole piece of fruit should be about the size of a tennis ball.
Veggies – When it comes to veggies, a serving is about 1 cup. That’s about the size of a baseball.
Salad dressing – Calories really add up when you’re pouring on dressing but if you stick to about 1 tablespoon, you’ll keep counts in check. That’s the size of the top of your thumb.
Oil – A single teaspoon of oil is about the size of your fingertip.
Ice cream – Can’t live without the sweet, creamy stuff? Just limit a serving to about ½ cup which is about the size of half a tennis ball. If you’re going to splurge and have a larger scoop, 1 cup is about the size of a baseball.