Portion Size – Pay Attention to Lose Weight

Its important to pay attention to the portion size of the foods you consume. There's no doubt that being distracted can have disastrous effects on your weight. There are numerous ways to keep better track of the amounts of foods you pop into your mouth, so no excuses.

Everyone learns things differently though, so it’s good to have different ways to calculate what you consume. The hand method is most useful because it gives you an instant guide, that's easy to use.

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Another method is to compare it to another visual reference, like a deck of cards or a cell phone. When you prepare foods at home, use measuring tools.

Each method of measurement is described below followed by a list of the proper amounts for common foods. It may take a bit of practice to get it right, but it will get easier over time!

Portion Size Measurement Methods

Hand Method

Your thumb is about the size of one ounce of food. Your palm is about the size of 3 ounces of food or one serving of meat.

Your fist is equal to 1 cup or 8 ounces. For example, a portion of rice as large as your fist is equal to about three servings.

The tip of your thumb is approximately the same size as one teaspoon. Using your thumb tip as a guide is especially a good way to keep track of the fat portions you consume, such as the amount of butter that counts as one serving.

thumbs image

Visual Method

  • A deck of cards is the same size as a 3-ounce serving of meat, the recommended amount for any meal.
  • A golf ball is the equivalent size of a single ounce of meat.
  • A tennis ball is the same size as a healthy serving of fruit.
  • Four dice equals 1 ounce of cheese.

    You can really get creative with this and invent your own visual reference preferences for your favorite foods to help with portion size.

    Measuring Utensils

    Measure solid foods such as rice, pasta, or vegetables in a dry measuring cup, which is different from a liquid measuring cup. For example:

  • The size of a quarter is a good guide for spaghetti noodles. One quarter size of dry noodles equals 2 servings of cooked spaghetti noodles.

    Always measure dry foods after cooking. Use measuring spoons for fats such as oil, margarine, and salad dressings. Do not use tableware to measure because they can be inaccurate. Use measuring tools to find out how much your favorite cups, glasses, and other utensils you use actually holds.


    Take notice of how each portion size of food, such as 3 ounces of meat or 1/3 cup of cooked pasta, looks on the plate or bowl you typically use.


    1 baked potato = fist
    1 ounce of chips or pretzels = 2 handfuls
    1 ounce of nuts = thumb
    1 serving of fat (butter) = tip of thumb
    3 ounces of meat (one serving) = palm
    1 serving of vegetable = 1 handful


    2 Tbsp peanut butter = ping pong ball
    3 ounces of cooked meat = deck of cards
    1 piece of cornbread = bar of soap
    1 portion of bread = one slice
    1/2 cup cooked broccoli = scoop of ice cream
    1&1/2 ounces of cheese = 3 dominoes
    One piece of fruit = baseball
    1 ounce of cheese = 4 dice
    1/2 bagel = hockey puck

    Measuring Tools


    1 cup = 8 ounces milk
    1/2 cup of canned fruit
    1/2 cup juice


    1/4 cup of dried fruit
    3/4 cup dry cereal
    1/2 cup yams or peas
    1/3 cup cooked pasta or rice

    You can also use this image to help you figure out what normal amounts of foods look like.

    portion size image

    When you learn how to know what a portion size really looks like, it's easier to calculate your calorie intake. If you want to take off what you've gained, it's useful to know how much food you're actually eating.

    Remember, if you over-eat and put weight on, you'll need to burn off those extra calories you consume or they will stay put. You will also find it useful to know what normal serving sizes are too. Knowing how much food is normal to eat can and will help you shed excesses the right way!

    Related Pages on This Site

    How to Keep Slim During the Holidays

    Lose Stubborn Belly Fat – Best Ways to Eliminate a Pot Belly

    Fatty Foods – Ways to Curb Your Cravings

    Make Healthy Diet Plans and Kick New Years Resolutions to the Curb!

    Raw Foods Diet – A Healthy Way to Lose Weight

    Consume Healthy Vegetables to Feel Great!

    High Protein Diet Foods – A Key Ingredient for Weight Loss

    Eating Right For Your Blood Type


    The Disastrous Effects of Over Eating

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