If making healthier choices about what you eat and drink is among your New Year’s resolutions, it helps to know a little something about portion size—especially since so many food manufacturers and restaurants keep making their portion sizes bigger and bigger. Here are some quick facts to help you get started:
What is a Portion?
A portion is how much food you choose to eat at any one time. That means your portion size may be more or less than a recommended serving size.
How is Portion Size Different from Serving Size?
A serving size is a recommended amount of food or drink based on your body’s nutritional needs, such as those laid out by the USDA in the MyPlate program.
Tips for Determining Portion Size
You don’t need a measuring cup or a food scale on hand every time you want to get an idea of portion size. Simply use these visual cues to help you stay on track:
|¼ cup||an egg or a ping pong ball|
|½ cup||hockey puck|
|2 cups||large grapefruit|
Here’s a quick example: for raw fruits and vegetables, aim for about a ½-cup serving—or about the size of a hockey puck. If you are watching your weight, remember also to choose low-sugar fruits and non-starchy veggies.
A Word about Protein
Because protein is such an important part of a healthy diet (and helpful for reducing cravings and keeping your appetite satisfied) aim for at least 12 portions of protein daily. Here are some quick tips:
|Cheese||1-2 ounces (about the size of four dice)|
|Meat, poultry, seafood, tofu||2-3 ounces (about the size of a deck of cards)|
|Nut butters||2 tablespoons (about the size of a ping pong ball)|
|Nuts||1 ounce (a handful)|
|Eggs||1 whole egg|
|Plain Greek yogurt||3 ounces|