Portion Control is Key to Healthier Eating

Thinking you want to slim down a bit this year but don’t want to go on a diet? By simply setting up the right size portions for yourself, you may be able to slim down without any restriction.

  • Your hand is proportionate to your body and can, therefore, help guide you when determining correct portion sizes.
  • A woman’s fist is typically about 1 cup. It’s a good idea to aim for as many vegetables as possible, but 1-2 fistfuls of produce on your plate is a great place to start!
  • The front of your clenched fist is about equal to ½ cup, the perfect amount of heavy starches like oatmeal, pasta, rice, quinoa, and potatoes.
  • A slice of bread should be about the size of your whole hand. Any bigger and you should maybe go open faced or cut it half to make your sandwich.
  • The palm (size and thickness) of a woman’s hand is typically equivalent to 3-4 ounces of protein. Men should aim for 1-2 palm sizes of protein at each meal, and women should aim for one palm size.
  • The tip of a thumb is about one tablespoon, double that, and you have the right portion of peanut butter!
  • The tip of your finger is equivalent to about a teaspoon. The perfect amount of butter for your toast or oil to cook your eggs in.
  • Most experts recommend you set up your plate with the following in mind:
    • 1/2 of it should be produce, ideally varied colors for optimal nutrient intake.
    • 1/4 of it should be starch in the form of grains, starchy vegetables (potatoes, peas, and corn), or beans.
    • 1/4 of it should be protein.
    • Heart healthy fats such as healthy cooking oils, nuts/seeds, and avocados should be included as well.

  • If you are trying to lose weight, using a smaller plate may help with portion control as well. Research shows people typically eat more from bigger plates and containers than from small ones.
  • Keep this simple portion control guide handy for easy reference. It will make watching portion sizes easy!