Think Small - Portion-Control Savvy

By: Joyce Hendley, M.S.  |  The EatingWell Diet (2007)
Here’s how to retrain your brain to recognize—and embrace—more realistic portion sizes.
We’re eating more calories than ever, and a leading culprit is how often we eat prepared foods away from home. Whether they come from a restaurant, takeout or vending machine, the portions we’re being served are becoming larger and larger. Many of us have lost touch with what proper portions look like.
What is “one serving”? Learn techniques from successful weight “losers” on how to shrink the portions you eat, without feeling deprived. Measuring with your eyes is a great place to start. See the table below. The EatingWell Diet features a quick guide to determine sensible portion sizes from each food group in the USDA “My Pyramid” guidelines.


1 teaspoon About the size of your fingertip (top to middle joint); fits into the screwcap of a water bottle
1 tablespoon About the size of your thumb tip (tip to middle joint)

1/2 cup

A fruit or vegetable that fits into the palm of your hand—about the size of a tennis ball
1/4 cup A golf ball
1 ounce nuts Fits into the cupped palm of a child's hand
1 cup cereal About the size of a woman's fist or a baseball
1 medium bagel A hockey puck
1 ounce cheese About the size of 2 dominoes or 4 dice
3 ounces meat About the size of a deck of cards or a cassette audiotape
1 medium potato About the size of a computer mouse