Jen Hamel, Edmonton Fitness Trainer



Putting your Portions into Perspective

Posted by onthegofitness on September 28, 2010 at 10:04 PM

Putting portions into perspective

Today’s society is eating more and more calories each day. Our serving sizes have become Biggie and Ultra sized, giving us a case of portion distortion. We are slowly starting to accept these new Jumbo sized portions as acceptable. As our serving sizes grow so does our National’s obesity rates. We see these larger portions as the norm and then we take that home from the restaurant and our portions at home start to grow as well. I am going to share with you a few tips to keep your portions in perspective and help you keep a good grasp on portions and your pant size.

1. Think smaller

Try using a child’s sized or salad plate to place your dinner upon. The plate is smaller and when placing appropriate portions onto it will still appear to be a full plate. Your mind is satisfied that you have enough food and you are less likely to overfill your plate; therefore becoming overfull and eating too many unwanted calories. This also works well with snacks use a dessert bowl or cup instead of a cereal bowl when indulging in Ice Cream or snacking on nuts or sweet treats.

2. Portion out large recipes

When making large meals like soups, stews or chili, read the recipe and find how many portions is should make; then portion them into Tupperware containers and freeze what you are not going to eat right away. You have not only controlled your portions but made it easy to quickly have a delicious home cooked meal in half the time; just unthaw heat and serve.

3. Divide to conquer

You sit down at a restaurant order your favorite meal and it arrives looking delicious and enormous, before you start to stuff your face with this aromatic delight do your own portion control. Use your fork to draw a line through your meal eating only half of this huge plate of food and ask the server to wrap the other half in a doggy bag to take home, now you’ve avoided the glutinous overfull feeling we all get when eating out and you have leftovers for tomorrow.

4. Train your brain for success

By simply sitting down and measuring out actual portion sizes of foods you regularly consume like cereal, pasta, rice and snacks into your bowls and plates you will get a visual of how full the dish should look with a healthy portion inside. Continue to use the same bowls or plates, now you know how full it should look with an appropriate serving inside, this will lead to less mindless overeating and healthier portion sizes for your day to day eating.




1 teaspoon = About the size of your fingertip (tip 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


Use this list to help you visualize the correct portion sizes of the foods you eat most often. Make an effort to measure out portions you serve yourself and soon you’ll be able to “eyeball” them without using a scale or measuring cups.


Sources of medical information Dr. Jean Harvey-Berino, Ph.D., R.D.Joyce Hendley

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