Food portion sizes seem as though they should be far more straightforward than they actually are. However, with our plates getting steadily bigger, most of us have lost touch with how much of a given food is a reasonable amount. We’ve come to think that the right amount is as much as we can get of our favorite dish without risking exploding at the table! The truth of the matter is that a balanced diet is shaped very differently and can leave us feeling satisfied without leading to a lecture from our doctors about how we need to lose belly fat.
Learning About Food Portion Sizes
Scales, measuring cups, and measuring spoons may all be great for making sure that you are adding the right quantities of ingredients when you’re following a recipe, but they’re not as handy when you’re trying to decide how much meat is appropriate to eat at a single sitting or whether or not you’ve had enough servings of veggies today.
Remember that there is a big difference between food portion sizes and actual serving sizes. This difference is very important as you gauge your calories as well as how much nutrition you are receiving in a day and whether or not that is properly balanced.
Tips to Help Understand Food Portion Sizes
Fortunately, there are a few helpful ways to remember just how much of each type of food you should consider to be a serving. They are not only easy to remember but they are also far easier to envision than a standard unit of measurement such as an ounce or a cup.
Indeed, the most accurate way to make sure that you have the perfect food portion sizes of a given food is to weigh it or measure it with an accurate cup or spoon. Precision is, after all, quite important, as eating too little can mean that you are not providing your body with an adequate amount of the nutrients that are essential to your good health.
However, if you eat too much, you could risk exceeding the recommended daily amounts of certain nutrients and calories. This can cause your weight and your health to suffer, particularly if it happens on a regular basis.
Keeping Things Practical
Equally, though, we live in real life, and measuring the size of every single food that we eat isn’t necessarily a realistic circumstance in every situation. In order to meet your weight loss goals – or to maintain them if you are within your healthy body mass index (BMI) range – use the following as a guideline to help to keep your food portion sizes in the zone.
- Raw Vegetables or Chopped Fruit – the size of a fist – 1 cup
• Cooked Veggies – the size of a light bulb – ¼ cup
• Whole fruit – the size of a baseball – 4 ounces
• Fruit juice – the size of a teacup – 6 ounces
• Dried fruit – the size of an egg – ¼ cup
• Cheese – the size of a two dice – 1 ounce
• Tuna or chicken salad – the size of a tennis ball – ½ standard can
• Yogurt – the size of a baseball – 2/3 cup
• Milk – the size of a coffee mug – 2/3 cup
• Potato – the size of a computer mouse – 3 ounces
• Bread – the size of a cassette tape – 1 ounce
• Waffle or pancake – the size of a CD – one unit
• Couscous, rice, quinoa – the amount to fill a muffin paper – 1/3 cup
• Cooked pasta – the size of an ice cream scoop – 1/3 cup
• Cereal – the size of a coffee mug – 2/3 cup
• Chips or pretzels – the size of a coffee mug – 1 ounce
• Butter or oil – the size of a fingerprint – 1 tsp
• Nuts – the size of a thumb print – 1 tbsp
• Meat, fish, or poultry – the size of two eggs – 4 ounces
Give Yourself the Chance to Learn Gradually
As you can see, each type of food has its own portion size. There’s definitely a learning curve when getting to know food portion sizes. Nobody expects you to simply know them all right away, and you shouldn’t expect that of yourself, either. Instead, it’s a good idea to start becoming mindful of your servings.
Paying attention over time and placing the measured amounts on your plate can help you to better visualize how much should be there from now on. It will help you to make more nutritionally balanced decisions and will make it possible to ensure that when you’re taking seconds, you’re choosing the dishes that will help to satisfy your nutritional needs for the day while keeping your calorie consumption within a healthy range.
By taking these steps gradually at each meal, you’ll find that over time, you’ll start to learn what your food portion size should look like and won’t need to measure as much. In fact, sooner than you may think, you will find that you’ve build enough of an understanding around the dishes you serve the most that you won’t need to measure anything at all.