It’s not only what you eat, but also how much that counts. Sensible portion sizes have a direct effect on the number of calories you eat. Along with making wise food choices, eating sensible portions is key for a healthy weight.
A portion is the amount you choose to eat of any food. There are no “right” or “wrong” portion sizes, but it’s important to know how the amounts of foods you eat compare to your recommended daily food group totals. Being sensible portion aware helps you plan your day’s food choices to get enough calories and nutrients without overdoing it on calories which, over time, can lead to weight gain.
What about serving sizes on Nutrition Facts labels? Be aware that these may differ from the portions you choose to eat. Use label serving sizes to identify the calories and nutrients in foods, compare similar foods and calculate the calories and nutrients contained in your portion.
Your calorie needs determine how much you should eat. To find what’s right for you, go to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov and click on “Get a Personalized Plan.”
To know how your portion sizes stack up against recommendations, determine your portion sizes and then add up your daily totals for each food group, oils and “empty” calories. It is okay to eat portions that differ from standard amounts, just be aware of how they add up over the day. The photos on the next page show you how to use your hands to help you estimate the portions of the foods and beverages you choose.
It’s All in Your Hands: Rules of Thumb on Portion Size Want to understand how the amounts of food you eat (portion sizes) stack up against the amount of food from each food group that is right for you, according to ChooseMyPlate.gov? Try using your hands to visualize the portions you eat. Then compare your typical portions to your daily MyPlate recommendations. Remember that the amounts of foods recommended for you on your personal “Plate” may vary from the portion sizes estimated using this chart.
|Do this...||To visualize this |
|Useful for these foods...|
One first, clenched
|8 fl oz|| |
Two hands, cupped
|1 cup|| |
One hand, cupped
|1/2 cup|| |
Palm of hand
|3 ounces|| |
Two thumbs together
|1 tablespoon|| |