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The Easy and Quick Guide to Portion Control

Updated on March 29, 2015

Why should I be concerned with portion sizes?

Portion control is a very important piece we often overlook to maintain a healthy diet. Most preventable diseases of the world are mainly due to “over excess” and that includes our food consumption. Obesity will most likely cause heart problems, diabetes type 2, inflammatory problems and hosts of other preventable illnesses. Controlling portion sizes is one of the keys to permanent weight loss. So if you comprehend portion control, you‘ll be better prepared with this knowledge when it comes time to serve your food. It also will enable you to stay at a healthy weight range, plus increase your energy levels. It’s been said our portion sizes have doubled from just 20 years ago and we’ve become more indulgent. Most of us just eat an entire plate of food without ever considering the portion, but by measuring out your food portions, (which may be cumbersome) you will see its well worth it in the end. You will quickly learn to recognize what a ‘serving’ of food looks like on your plate and what a healthy platter should look like. It will become a habit you can utilize when serving food.

What should a healthy platter look like?

There are so many different forms of eating these days such as paleo, vegetarian, cultural diets, vegan, and gluten free, raw food diet etc., so it’s difficult to correctly address each group who has varied formulas for their specific diets. However, the basic formula should go like this: your platter should see the majority of your meals coming from fruits and vegetables, and the other half made up in equal amounts of carbohydrates and proteins. I always advocate for half your plate to be filled up with produce, preferably raw when possible and the other half protein and carbs placed in equal portions. You can read my other article that will help you understand more in depth (look at # 3 on this list.)

12 easy ways to estimate measures of food by visual signs

  1. 1 cup = the size of your fist or a baseball
  2. ½ cup = the size of a lightbulb or the size of a tennis ball
  3. 1 medium apple or orange = the size of a tennis ball
  4. 1 ounce = the size of a ping pong or 1 ounce of cheese is the size of 4 dice
  5. 1 tablespoon = the size of a poker chip or the size of your whole thumb
  6. 1 teaspoon = the size of the tip of your thumb (to the first knuckle)
  7. 3 ounces of meat = the size of a deck of cards or the size of the palm of your hand
  8. 1 ounce of meat = the size of a matchbox
  9. 1 serving of popcorn, pretzels or chips = the size of your cupped hand
  10. 1 tad of butter = the size of the top of the index finger to the first line( shown on backside of finger)
  11. 1 pancake = the size of a compact disc (no bigger)
  12. 1/4 cup of dried fruit or nuts = a golf ball or small handful.

Bonus Clue: Did you ever wonder what it meant to measure a pinch of salt or sugar? Well, the easiest way is the amount you can pick up between your thumb and your index finger.

Do you practice portion control when serving your plate?

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Do you have any quick tips to help us control our portion sizes?

  • After you are done preparing the meal and serving your plate, you should immediately put leftovers wrapped up in the fridge. This prevents you from going back for seconds and overeating.
  • When eating out, order the small portion or look at the menu and get the lunch size not the dinner size. Also, sometimes the kid’s menu portions are perfect if you are not that hungry.
  • Order the appetizers verses the entrees.
  • Before you eat dinner, try filling up on a lower calorie food such as a nice leafy green salad and drink a glass of water.
  • At a restaurant, split the meal with a friend or eat half of it and take the other half home in a take-out box. (ask the waitress for the box prior to meal being served, this way when the platter arrives, you can scoop out half into the box to take home and won’t be tempted to eat the whole platter).
  • If you have to snack before meals try eating a healthy, high fiber snack like an apple or small salad. This will fill you up and prevent you from overeating at your next meal.
  • Never eat from a bag! Most of us can’t stop! Take out the serving size from the bag or buy single serving portions of your favorite bag snack food.
  • Try to eat consciously, not mindlessly. Look at the colors of your food, express gratitude for the food set before you and savor the taste while chewing. It’s very hard to pay attention to what you eat if you are distracted by T.V., the computer or your phone.

*** Try to always remember that proper and healthy portion control is regarded by utilizing moderation not deprivation when it comes to your healthy eating habits.


Please note that I am not a medical doctor so I cannot offer medical advice nor diagnose or cure, please always consult your physician when in question. However I’m happy to offer you suggestions for possible enhancements to your health per my research and what I have learned as a Health Coach. I want to educate you the best possible way so you can be equipped with superlative information and make healthy decisions for yourself as you see fit, for this is my sole purpose.


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    • Organic Susana profile imageAUTHOR

      Susana Danielle 

      3 years ago from Newark, DE

      Thanks Gail for your comment! Yes, it's eye-opening once you understand what your platter should look like and it truly helps you practice portion control . This will surely help you with weight and healthy conscious eating. Have a Happy Healthy Day!

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Wow! I never knew how much I was over filling my plate! No I can quickly implement portion control! Thanks!


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