Serving Says? How to Visualize (and ACHIEVE) Success with Portion Control

October 18, 2016

Serving Says?

Learning proper portion control takes time and attention. Training yourself to feel full after smaller, healthier amounts of food is challenging. For that reason, in our first blog dedicated to portion control, we discussed the ease and convenience of pre-made frozen dinners and gave tips on how to pick the best options. Those meals are a great out-of-the-gate strategy, when ease is crucial because you want to reduce as many hurdles as possible to healthier you.

For long-term health, though, eating pre-packaged meals falls short of providing your body with the healthiest (and yummiest) foods for its needs.  They are a good tool to help us learn what the appropriate portion sizes should look like on a plate, however, they are still processed foods that may contribute more salt and preservatives that the body needs. Plus, you can’t bring your frozen dinner to the restaurant with friends or to your in-laws for the family holiday gathering.  At some point, you need to learn what appropriate serving sizes look like and how to make the best choices for your body.

That is where object matching is helpful.  It’s hard to look at a serving of brown rice and know exactly how much is 2 oz.  No one wants to pull out a food scale at Granny’s dining room table to determine what 4 oz. of roasted turkey looks like.  Yet, if I asked you to imagine a tennis ball or a deck of cards, odds are you could envision an item of that size sitting before you.

The nutrition community has equated several well-known household items that represent the size of an ideal portion for the various types of food we eat.

A standard serving of...

  • cereal (1 c.) = a baseball
  • salad dressing (2 Tbsp.) = a shot glass
  • nuts (1 oz.) = a cupped palm
  • cheese (1 oz.) = a Ping-Pong ball
  • hamburger (3 oz.) = a mayo jar lid
  • peanut butter (1 tsp.) = one dice
  • beef (3 oz.) = a bar of soap
  • rice (½ c.) = an ice cream scoop
  • potato = a computer mouse
  • dinner roll = a yo-yo
  • butter (1 tsp.) = a Scrabble tile
  • fruit (1 c.) = a tennis ball
  • cooked pasta (½ c.) = a golf ball
  • fish (3 oz.) = a checkbook
  • poultry (3 oz.) = a deck of playing cards

Get to know this list.  Print this list and keep it in your purse or wallet.  Take a quick glance at the listed objects and then look at the food on your plate to see how it sizes up.  A minute’s view is all that’s needed to bring you peace of mind and health of tummy.

And here’s an idea! Why not gather actual samples of the objects listed, write on them what food they represent, and place them in a basket in your kitchen for easy reference when scooping your portions. 

Start today.  Print, pocket, and spoon your way to healthy portions, and a healthier you!

[Save the image below to your device or right click on it to print it to keep on hand for reference.]

This is the second entry in a three-part series on portion control. Click here to read part one.