If you're eating out at a restaurant, how do you know how big a portion size is? Do you whip out measuring cups or measuring spoons? Most likely, not.
Portion sizes vary tremendously from restaurant to restaurant. Unfortunately, when we dine at restaurants or grab a snack on the go the portion served isnt always the portion we're meant to have. Restaurants overload plates with ridiculously large portions of food and if we ever dare to get a meal at a fast food or casual dining outlet, super-sizing is standard protocol.
When writing Get Real and STOP Dieting!, I stumbled upon Lisa Young's The Portion Teller. She developed a system for people to easily gauge portion sizes without the need for kitchen gadgets; perfect for dining out. Lisa's system leverages every-day items as a visual guide for portions, as opposed to actual referenced measurement. Here are some common foods, their healthy portion sizes and the every-day item you might use to visualize the portion size:
Fruit and Vegetable Portion Sizes:
- 1 cup of vegetables, leafy greens = A Baseball
- 1 cup of berries = Woman's fist
Grains and Starchy Carbs:
- 1/2 cup pasta or brown rice = Rounded handful
- 1/2 cup cereal = 1/2 Baseball
- 1 Slice of bread = CD Case
- 1 small potato = Computer Mouse
- 1 ounce pretzels = Tennis Ball
- 3 cups air popped corn = 3 baseballs
- 3 ounces meat or chicken = Deck of cards / iPod
- 1 ounce meat or chicken = Matchbook
- 3 ounces fish fillet = Checkbook
- 1/2 cup cooked beans = 1/2 Baseball
- 2 Tbsp hummus Ping Pong Ball / Shot Glass
- 1 ounce hard cheese = Thumb / Tube of Lipstick / 4 Dice
- 1 ounce slice of deli cheese = CD Case
- 1/2 cup non-fat yogurt = 1/2 baseball
- 1 cup of milk = 1 baseball
- 1 teaspoon olive oil = 1 die / Fingertip
- 1/4 cup nuts = Golf ball / Egg
- 1 Tablespoon of horseradish = Thumb
- 1 teaspoon of mustard = Fingertip
How do you ensure healthy portion sizes? Do you think this guide helps?
Adapted from: Get Real and STOP Dieting!; Info Source: Lisa R. Young, PhD, RD. The Portion Teller, New York: Broadway Books; 2005.