Figuring out what a “normal” portion looks like can be tricky. Even healthy foods can be taken out of proportion. How many servings of salad did you really put on your plate? And what do health experts mean when they recommend eating two servings of fish a week? Understanding what constitutes a “normal” portion size will help you cut back and take control. Here are some tips to help you keep your calorie intake under control this holiday season:

Eyeball It

A good way to measure out normal portions is to size your food against commonly used objects. Here what one serving of the following looks like:

Breads, Cereals, and Grains:

  • 1 slice of bread=Size of an index card
  • 1 small roll=Size of a yo-yo
  • 1 bagel=A [5 oz.] can of tuna
  • ½ cup of rice or pasta=Enough to fill a cupcake liner

Fruits and Vegetables:

  • 1 medium orange or apple=Size of a tennis ball
  • ¼ cup dried fruit=Size of a large egg
  • 1 cup of green salad=Size of an adult fist
  • 1 small potato=Size of a computer mouse

Proteins (Meats and Nuts):

  • 1 oz. of nuts=Size of a ping pong ball
  • 3 oz. of meat (beef, chicken, fish, pork)=Size of a deck of cards
  • 2 tbs. of peanut butter=Size of two tea bags


  • 1 cup of milk=Size of 8 oz. carton
  • 1 scoop of fat free frozen yogurt=Size of 1/2 a baseball
  • 1 oz. of cheese=Size of a pair of dice


  • 1 tsp. of butter=Distance between the tip of your thumb to the first joint on your thumb

Eat Smarter

Losing weight is not only about eating healthier, it’s about knowing how much to eat and learning when to resist getting seconds. Think about the following:

  • Visualize what one serving of each of the foods you are about to eat looks like.
  • When dining out, before you start eating, ask for a doggie bag and set half aside for later. This way, you won’t be tempted or feel obligated to eat the whole meal.
  • Avoid the all-you-can-eat buffets. Temptation abounds.


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