Portion Control | Understanding Serving Sizes
Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Portion Control: How Big is That Plate?

Are you eating healthy, but still not seeing the results you’ve been hoping for? The reason could be portion sizes!  Food portions have increased to two or three times of what’s recommended without us even realizing it. In order to get control of your food intake, take action and follow these fast portion control tips.

The Plate Method

The first way you can manage your portion sizes is to use the plate method. When preparing your dish or when ordering out, find a meal that will fill ½ your plate with vegetables, ¼ with whole grains and ¼ with lean protein. 

Check Nutrition Labels

Check the recommended portion size of your foods compared to what you have on your plate. It is possible you may be eating more than what’s suggested! Use measuring spoons and cups if needed to determine how much food you’re consuming.

Size it Up

If measuring cups aren’t available, try comparing your foods to these everyday objects for similar portion sizes no matter where you’re eating!

Fruits and Vegetables

  • one serving is equal to the size of a woman’s fist or a baseball
  • ½ cup cooked or raw vegetables is equal to a rounded handful
  • one small baked potato is equal to the size of a computer mouse


  • 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta is equal to a rounded handful
  • one serving of a pancake or small waffle is equal to a compact disc


  • one ounce of cheese is equal to four dice

Meat, Poultry & Fish

  • A serving of meat or poultry is the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand (not including your fingers)
  • A serving of fish (approximately three oz) is the size of a check book

Nuts & Fats

  • A serving of fat is usually around two tbsp, which is equal to a golf ball

Portioning foods can seem like a challenge, but if you practice measuring your foods and learn how to eyeball correct portion sizes you’ll be eating well in no time! 

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Tags: Cooking Healthy , Healthy Eating , Nutrition Trends

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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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