ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Controlling portion size

Updated on March 8, 2007

If you have read any of my other articles you will know that I am a big advocator of eating several small meals throughout the day rather than just a few large meals, but you may be asking yourself "What is smaller?" Most of us do not have a good grasp on how much food is too much and that misconception is a major contributing factor in their weight problem. That is why it is so important to look at the sizes of the portions you are eating. If you practice portion control, it is possible to eat almost any type of food and still stay within a healthy range of calories for the day.

Here are a few quick tips to give you an idea of portion size:

  • 3 ounces of meat, poultry, or fish are about the size of a women's palm, or a deck of playing cards.
  • 1/2 cup of cut fruit, vegetables, or pasta is about the size of a small fist.
  • 1 cup of milk, yogurt or chopped fresh greens is about the size of a small hand holding a tennis ball.
  • An ounce of cheese is about the size of your thumb.
  • A teaspoon of margarine is about the size of your thumb tip.

Eating out

Because restaurants often serve very large portions, practicing portion control is especially important when eating out. Some suggestions for cutting down on calories include:

  • Eat only half your meal and take the other half for lunch the next day.
  • Split an entrée or dessert with a friend.
  • Ask for substitutions (for example, ask for steamed vegetables or a salad instead of mashed potatoes.)
  • Ask for all sauces, dressings, and gravy on the side.

Read the labels

Consult the "Nutrition Facts" label on the food products you buy for the "serving size" measurement. If you look on a box of cookies, and the serving size is two cookies, that means one portion is two cookies, not six. When following a recipe, look for how many "servings" the recipe makes. If the recipe says "serves four," that means one portion is one-fourth of the total amount you prepare.

Getting the hang of it

I watch my grandmother make cookies and it amazes me, she never uses a measuring cup, a pinch of this a cup of that, she clearly can eye-ball what a cup of rice looks like- unfortunately most of us do not have this talent. It is a good idea to keep measuring cups around, if the package reads that a portion is one cup of cereal, measure out one cup (you might be surprised how much you were over eating before). By measuring things out for yourself you will get a good idea of what 3 oz of chicken look like (the recommended serving size), a cup of cereal looks like, a teaspoon of butter, and over time you will become accustomed to these measurements and will be able to eye-ball it yourself- although after 20 years of watching my grandmother make cookies I still can't make them without a measuring cup!


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)