Measuring portion sizes is not always easy, especially when you are eating on the go. Unless you’re a chef, you probably don’t carry around measuring cups everywhere you go. So how can you measure proper portion sizes? We’ve put together this little cheat sheet to help you stay on track!
Portion size: 3 ounces or about the size of your palm.
- Meat (3 ounces = 160 calories). As a topic of debate between vegetarians and meat-lovers, meat in moderation offers much-needed protein that is important for bones, muscles, skin, and blood. The truth is, however, that many people, especially males are eating too much meat on a regular basis. The recommended serving size for beef, chicken, or fish is 3 ounces, which is roughly the size of your palm. To reduce your saturated fat intake, it's recommended that you find other foods to take the place of some of your extra daily protein.
Portion size: 1 cup or about the size of your fist.
- Vegetables (1 cup = 40 calories). You rarely hear a story about someone who gained weight because they ate too many vegetables, which is why we always recommend fresh vegetables as a healthy snack. As a general food group, vegetables offer the best nutrition for the least calories. Any time you find your stomach growling, reach for a cup, or about a fist-sized portion of veggies.
- Fruit (1 cup = 75 calories). An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Well, the truth is that fruit provides your body with valuable vitamins and nutrients that can boost your health and immune function.
- Grains (1 cup = 200 calories). Many fad diets have told you that all grains should be cut out of your diet. The truth is that healthy whole grains provide your body with valuable nutrition. Serve up a cup of whole grain pasta or brown rice with some seasoning for a delicious side to your balanced meal.
Portion size: 1 ounce or about 1 small handful.
- Nuts (1 ounce = 180 calories). When you’re looking for a nutritious snack, a small handful of nuts is a wonderful option. Nuts are high in protein and healthy fats, offering an excellent alternative to meat when you're looking to increase your protein intake. Keep track of your portion size, however, as too large of a portion can lead to unwanted excess calories. The recommended portion size is 1 ounce or 1 small handful.
Portion size: 1 ounce or about the size of your thumb.
- Nut Butter (1 ounce = 170 calories). Not all nut butters are created equal, but the healthy versions are excellent for snack time. You’ll want to make sure that the nut butter you are consuming is not filled with added sugars. As an average, a 1-ounce serving will be about 170 calories but provide your body with protein and heart-healthy fats.
- Hard Cheese (1 ounce = 100 calories). We all love cheese, but too much can overload your system with saturated fat. To keep portions in check, measure out about 1 ounce of hard cheese to satisfy your craving. You also get a serving of protein!
Portion size: 1 teaspoon or roughly the size of the tip of your thumb.
- Condiments (1 teaspoon = 40 calories). Even the healthiest meal in the world can be destroyed with condiments. Keep it in check by measuring using the tip of your thumb. Creamy condiments such as ranch dressing and mayonnaise will tend to be higher in calories and fat. Save the calories by using spices instead!
- Sugar (1 teaspoon = 15 calories). Next time your sweet tooth kicks in, you may want to think again about what foods you grab. In general, Americans eat far too much sugar, which can lead to a handful of health concerns. Instead of candy, try some fresh or frozen fruit!