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Eyeballing serving sizes

Eyeballing serving sizes: a visual guide

As I often tell my clients, if you happen to be cooking and eating at home, it is a great idea to measure your food on occasion, as a way to gauge how much food you actually eat. (Most of us think we eat less—often much less—than we actually eat.) But if you don’t have easy access to a food scale, or if you regularly eat out, it’s helpful to use everyday objects to visualize healthy portions.

To help you eyeball some standard serving sizes, here are some simple visuals from my book The Portion Teller Plan. I have developed a set of useful images of real life objects, like baseballs and walnuts, as dimensional indicators for standard serving sizes of commonly consumed foods.  Because most of us can visualize these objects, it’s a great way to keep portions in check. It makes you think about how much food you’re piling on your plate.

  • Nuts, 1/4 cup = golf ball
  • Salad dressing or olive oil, 2 tablespoons = shot glass
  • Peanut butter, 2 tablespoons = walnut in a shell
  • Ice cream, ½ cup = ½ baseball
  • Cheese, 2 oz = 8 dice
  • Pasta or rice, 1 cup = baseball
  • Oil, 1 teaspoon = water-bottle cap
  • Meat, fish, or poultry, 3 ounces = deck of cards
  • Bread, 1 ounce slice = CD case

Here’s a slide show I worked on with with useful visuals. Enjoy!

The Australian edition of Woman’s Day featured a full page article on some of the visuals from The Portion Teller Plan. [ NOTE: The Aussies have become big like us so they can use some portion-control tips.]

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