Portion Sizes

Over the years, Americans have started eating more and more food.  The amount we put on our plates or in our cups and that the size of restaurant options have become bigger and bigger.  But most of us know that eating more and getting less physical activity means we are likely to gain weight.  What to do?


Here's a quick and easy guide to portion sizes:
  • A piece of poultry or meat (3 ounces) should be about the size of the palm of your hand.
  • A piece of fish should be the size of a deck of cards or the size of a checkbook.
  • 1/2 cup of pasta or rice should be about the size of a tennis ball.
  • A pancake or waffles should be the size of a CD.
  • A serving of peanut butter, two tablespoons, is the size of a Ping-Pong ball.
Fruits and veggies can be measured one cup at a time -- about the size of a baseball or a woman's fist.  A medium apple or orange should be the size of a tennis ball.  A serving of dried fruit, which is very concentrated, should be the size of a golf ball.  A cup of lettuce is about four leaves, torn up.



Some tips for portion control:
  • Read the nutrition facts label on food packages to learn the suggested serving size.  If you eat more than the serving size, it means you are eating more calories than the label shows.
  • Measure out your food until you get a better idea of what a serving size should look like.
  • Don't eat out of a bag or box -- serve yourself the correct amount.  This is a great idea for snacking, too -- measure out the portion size you want to eat and package it in a small baggie to keep from over-eating.
  • Eat on a plate, sitting at the table.  Eating at your desk or on the soda does not help us eat mindfully.
  • Eat lean meats, drink non-fat or low-fat milk, and make half your grains whole.  Eat lots of fruits and veggies.
  • Drink plenty of water!

For more information on portion sizes and portion control visit:
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This institution is an equal opportunity provider. This material was funded by USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP. The University of Maryland Extension will not discriminate against any person because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry or national origin, marital status, genetic information, political affiliation, and gender identity or expression. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more about Maryland’s Food Supplement Program (SNAP), contact the Maryland Department of Human Resources at 1-800-332-6347 or apply online at https://mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.us/.
© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall