It is not just what you eat and how often, but of course, HOW MUCH...

To be healthy, it's important to know the right amounts to eat - and that's where PROPER PORTIONING comes in.  You need to be aware of what constitutes a portion to know that you're eating the right amounts of food for your age and activity level.

Did you know:

  • Larger portions can cause you to eat MORE  than you would normally eat to satisfy your hunger? That means you could eat more than what your body really needs and it would be easy to gain excess weight!
  • Some individual snack packages and drinks contain MULTIPLE servings?  For example:

                •One 20 oz soft drink has 2.5 servings

                •One small bag of snack chips can have 3-4 servings

                •Cereal boxes will vary in serving sizes:

                •1 serving can range from 80 or 90 calories to 300 calories!

  • Fast food portions,restaurant portions, even dinner plates and cups are getting bigger?

To be more aware:  Read your labels and know serving sizes.

                •1 serving of bread or cereal is about 100 calories. (100-calorie packs can help with portion


                •1 portion of meat, chicken, or fish is about 3 oz. - the size & thickness of your palm or deck of cards.

                •1 serving raw vegetables or fruit is 1 measuring cup - about the size of your fist.

                •1 serving of oil, butter or mayonnaise/salad dressing is about the size of the tip of your thumb, or 1


Take control of your portions:

                •Use measuring utensils - cups, spoons, etc.

                •Pour out a serving size from a bag or box & put in a bowl or on a plate.

                •Use smaller size plates & bowls to limit portions & help you feel satisfied with adequate amounts.

                •Imagine your dinner plate:

      1/2 should be vegetables - raw &/or cooked

      1/4 starch - rice, potatoes, cooked pasta, etc.

      1/4 protein - meat, chicken, fish, etc

To see how many portions of each food you need for your age & activity level, go to or

Written by:  Mary Jo Parker, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Consultant to Personal Touch Food Services, Inc.