by Tracey Shaffer, RDN, LD
Eating smaller portions can be one of the easiest ways to decrease the amount of calories in your diet. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy when we live in a nation of super-sized meals. Our idea of an appropriate serving can get distorted.
So, how do you know what a reasonable portion size is when you see it? I’ve come up with some tips to help you re-train your eyes.
One way to get your portions right is the plate method. It’s simple and effective. Fill one-half of your dinner plate with vegetables, one-fourth with whole grains/breads and one-fourth with lean meat or protein (beans, eggs, tofu). This method is an easy way to approximate serving sizes without having to measure and gives your meal balance.
Another way to estimate portion sizes by using comparisons to other household items.
1 oz. meat: size of a small matchbox
3-4oz. meat: size of a deck of cards or bar of soap –recommended dinner portion
3-4 oz. fish: size of a checkbook
1 oz. cheese: size of 4 dice
Medium potato: size of a computer mouse
2 tablespoons peanut butter: size of a ping pong ball
1/2 cup pasta: size of a tennis ball
Average bagel: size of a hockey puck
Medium apple or orange: the size of a tennis ball
1/4 cup dried fruit: a small handful
To eat smaller portions:
Make your own individual servings by counting out chips, crackers, dried fruit, nuts, etc. and putting them in re-sealable bags. You won’t be eating mindlessly from a large bag that way.
Buy single portions of snack foods especially sweets. Usually the urge to eat sweets is a craving, not true hunger, so a small bit will do the trick.
When eating out, ask for half of your meal to be packed up at the time of ordering. That way you are not tempted to keep eating and you can eat the rest for tomorrow’s meal. Two meals for the price of one!
Tracey Shaffer, RDN, LD is a registered dietitian at the Blue Springs Hy-Vee. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The information is not intended as medical advice.
Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.