How much is enough?!

Not everyone knows how to abide by the 2010 dietary guidelines…  It’s tough when you don’t know exactly how much is enough.  Thought I’d write a post about portions since that is one of the biggest issues with eating today.  A cup of juice consumed today is not equivalent to a cup of juice 10 years ago or 20 years ago.  Our portions have tripled, our dinner/lunch plates have tripled, and our refrigerators have tripled in size.  Take control of your portions.  Rather than to have a portion of cereal that is three servings – aim for a portion that is made up of just one serving and savor it.

The first step is to use your eyes.  Seeing is both believing and knowing.  Ordinary objects can be used to help visualize portions for various food groups.  For example, one cup of yogurt is equivalent to a baseball. Check out some of the food groups and their associated portions below:

Whole Grains

  • 1 pancake = 1 compact disk
  • 1 slice of bread = 1 cassette tape
  • 1 cup dry cereal = 1 tennis ball
  • 1 cup pasta = 1/2 baseball

Fruits & Vegetables

  • 1 cup of green salad = 1 baseball
  • 1/2 cup of fruits/vegetables = 1 computer mouse
  • 1 baked potato = a computer mouse

Meats, Fish, & Nuts

  • 3 oz grilled/baked meat (i.e.. poultry) = 1 checkbook (closed) OR a deck of cards
  • 3 oz tofu = 1 deck cards
  • 1 oz walnuts = a single handful or 1/4 measuring cup serving


  • 1 cup yogurt = 1 baseball
  • 1/2 cup ice cream = 1 lightbulb
  • 1 oz cheese = 1 domino

Fats, Oils, & Treats

  • 1 brownie = 1 package of dental floss (closed)
  • 1 tablespoon butter = 1 poker chip

The actual portion is a lot smaller than what we eat, right?!?  Try some of these visual portion control tips!

PS – According to Dr. Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating, moving from a 12″ plate to a 10″ plate results in serving and eating 22% less food.  This for transition of plate size has actually lead individuals to realize that they are full when clearing smaller plates compared to cleaning larger plates.  In other words, you might actually be full when consuming less…  Clearing a smaller plate with less food means less calories.  By sticking to the right portions at mealtimes and consuming a balanced amount of fats/protein/carbohydrate you can dramatically improve your health and waistline!

xxx – Sarah

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