Tricks to Estimating Food Portions

    One would think that it would be easy to look at a food and determine how much is a reasonable portion to eat. Unfortunately, that perspective has skewed over the years; as of 2012, the average restaurant meal size and calories are four times larger than they were in 1950! When all restaurants serve huge portions, it’s easy to lose sight of what “normal” is, and how much we should be eating in a day. A recent study has even shown that people tend to underestimate how many calories they are eating by up to 30%! Luckily, there are a couple visual aids to make it easier to picture the correct serving sizes for common foods. Little tricks like these can help you estimate more accurately, and prevent unintentional overeating.

Proteins: 6 ounces per day
3 oz. meat = deck of cards
3 oz. fish = checkbook

Vegetables: 3 cups per day
1 cup vegetables = baseball

Fruit: 2 cups per day
1 cup = 1 “medium” fruit = baseball

Grains: 7 ounces per day (remember to make half of them whole-grains!)
1 ounce = 1 slice of bread, or ½ cup cooked rice or pasta

Dairy: 3 cups per day
1 cup milk = full scotch glass
1.5 oz. cheese = 9 volt battery
1 cup yogurt = baseball
½ cup ice cream = lightbulb

Fats: Less than 6 teaspoons per day
1 tbsp oil, butter, or salad dressing = poker chip