What is a Portion Size?

Portion size is a frequent question in wellness consults and grocery store tours. Most people have heard that they should have “X” number of servings of each food group per day; however, there are a lot of unanswered questions on exactly what a serving or portion size is.

Food labels can help to ensure you recognize the nutritional content of the foods you are eating and may help to prevent you from going overboard on calories and fat, but when it comes to portion sizes we want to make sure our plate is equally balanced. This is reflected in the government’s MyPlate, a guideline for eating well.

The general guideline is to have a grain, two fruits or veggies, a protein, and a dairy serving at each meal. To understand what that means, utilize this helpful serving guide:

Vegetables Equal Size
1 cup spinach (or salad mix) Baseball
1 cup cooked vegetable Baseball
Baked potato Computer mouse
Fruit Equal Size
1 medium fresh fruit (ex: apple or orange) 1 tennis ball or the size of your fist
1/4 cup dried fruit Golf ball
1/2 cup fresh or canned fruit Computer mouse
3/4 cup juice Small foam cup
Milk Equal Size
1 ounce cheese 1 lipstick tube or pair of dice
8 ounces milk 1 measuring cup
1 cup yogurt 1 baseball or tennis ball
Protein Equal Size
3 ounces of meat Deck of cards or the palm of your hand
2 Tbsp. nut butter Golf ball
3 ounces of fish Checkbook
Grains Equal Size
1/2 cup rice, pasta, hot cereal 1/2 size of a baseball
1 pancake CD/DVD
3 cups air popcorn 3 baseballs
1 slice of bread CD/DVD case
1 ounce pretzels Tennis ball
Oils Equal Size
1 tsp. butter Tip of thumb
1 Tbsp. dressing, mustard, ketchup, mayo Thumb

Keep your plates well balanced to achieve optimal nutrition!


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