Fiber and fats not only act as insulation and a concentrated fuel source, but also provide essential building blocks to keep our body humming through the day.
Using MyPlate as a portion guide and reading food labels is a good place to start understanding appropriate food servings. Here's an easy way to determine what portions are right for you.
Know Your Portion Size
Look at the palm of your hand—this is what your meat serving should look like on your plate. This equates to approximately 4 oz. It might also look like a deck of cards.
Understanding how many servings you should consume can help you monitor your intake and meet your calorie target. Comparing sizes to commonly known items can be helpful in determining your portion.
- 1 tsp. - about the size of a pointer fingertip
- 1 Tbsp. - about the size of your thumb or a tube of lipstick
- 1/4 c. - one large egg
- 1/2 c. - 1 handful
- 1 c. - the size of a tennis ball
- 1 oz. chicken, poultry or meat - size of a matchbook
- 1 oz. meatball - size of a golf ball
- 3 oz. cooked fish, poultry or meat - a deck of cards, the palm of your hand or a checkbook
- 1 tsp. peanut butter - size of the tip of your thumb
- 2 Tbsp. peanut butter - size of a golf ball
- 1 medium piece of fruit - size of a baseball
- 1 oz. cheese - size of four dice
- 2 oz. cheese - size of a pair of dominos
- 1 small baked potato - size of a woman's fist
- 1 c. raw vegetables or sliced fruit - a man's fist
Building your plate to meet your needs means using the tools you have at your fingertips! For example, one handful of rice, a palm size piece of chicken, a fist size scoop of vegetables, topped with a fingertip size swipe of butter would make an ideal plate. Later you could select a tennis ball size apple for dessert.
Try spending one week measuring everything you normally eat to get a real sense of whether your portion sizes are correct. You can use your hand, measuring cups or scale to learn exactly how much you're consuming. This is critical when deciding what changes you'll want to make in order to meet the demands of your body and to enjoy the benefits of a smooth running machine with just the right amount of energy.