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The Portion Distortion Guide

A List of Serving Sizes


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  • This is invaluable! A good reminder.
  • The portion guide here at Sparkpeople has been instrumental in giving me a concrete tool to use to lose weight. I highly recommend printing it out and taping it to the refridgerator.
  • a billard ball is a ball used to play pool.
  • billiard ball? what is that?
  • My easiest way to portion control is use the HAND method these each make ONE serving size Put our hand out in front of you and follow this rule:
    Meat/chicken/fish is the size of your palm minus the fingers
    Bread is the size of just your four fingers put together
    Now cup your hand and that is the size for veggies
    Make a fist and that is the size for fruit
    Fats/nuts size of your thumb
    Juice take your hand and pretend to curve around a glass, when your middle finger hits your thumb that is the sixe of a glass you would drink from about 6 oz.
    I use this method when I am out anywhere, if at home I use one of those children's 3 section divided plates, use the large section for veggies, one small for fruit or dessert and one small for meat and if drink juice use a childrens tumbler. If using the hand method, it fits everyone because your hand is fit for YOU and your portions will be perfect everytime.
  • Trying to imagine having a billiard ball sized portion of cereal
    ( and not feeling starved minutes later).
  • I think that portion control is very important to losing weight although I have seen better examples. Weight Watchers has a booklet that relates things to the size of a light bulb or CD for instance. How many people really know what size a hockey puck is? From seeing a game on TV or even live - not too useful. And old fashioned oatmeal - the steel cut type that you cook for a long time, is 1/3 cup dry - not 1/2. Leafy salad greens would equal 1 cup for a small side portion, 2 cups of greens only is about 15 calories; including other salad veggies would be about 35 calories. Starchy vegetables like corn or pinto beans should be measured more like 1/2 cup because starch converts to sugar in the body. I always check the package to see what it states and adjust for that. Some cereals may be 1/2 to 3/4 C and others 1 full cup. You need to know if you are the type of person who likes to have volume and choose foods accordingly. If you are eating 1500 calories per day, then a serving based on a 2,000 calorie day for you would be three fourths of that amount. So high fat foods like cheese or red meat - you won't get much. That's why white meat chicken and fish are so popular - you get to eat more of them for the same calories. Same with having a vegetarian meal now and again. Splitting meals from restaurants can be tricky because even if you eat only half, likely if you eat out often you will go over the calories for the day because the serving contains 3, 4, or 5+ portions depending on the place and if it's an appetizer, lunch or dinner entree. Most chains have very high fat appetizers that are not very healthy; an exception would be a shrimp cocktail - not the same as breaded and deep fried shrimp. Common sense and information. If in doubt, size down to lose weight.
  • Also, according to the NHS, a serving of salad is 80 g, which is a lot more than a cup. If you think about the bagged salads you get in the grocery store, those are usually 130 g, which is less than two of your five a day!
  • For those wishing for weights, there's a good page as part of the NHS's 5 A DAY campaign. Don't forget, potatoes don't count!
    I commented about this on the related quiz too, but re: a serving of fruit juice, I'm pretty sure that hockey pucks do weigh 6 oz., but fruit juices are normally measured in fluid ounces, which are a measure of volume. So I am confused -- are they saying that a serving of juice is the volume of a hockey puck (~7 cubic inches = ~1/2 cup) or are they saying that a serving of juice is the weight of a hockey puck? Or do they mean 6 fluid ounces, which is 3/4 cup?
  • Well I live in apart of the world that uses the metric system and the use of just ounce’s means I have to think and change it all in to grams. I also would like to see a wait for fruits and veggies well every thing really, other then liquids. I use grams for every thing the “about the size of” is really nice to have if going out but the cup measurements for bean and fruits isn’t accurate enough for me and the tbsp for nuts and seeds is really strange what if there in really small peaces compared to whole then the smaller peaces are actually more right?
  • SSTEVE17
    Regarding Serving Size Quiz/info: 1 serving (officially) of oatmeal, made from whole rolled oats, is 1/2 cup DRY, or 1 cup COOKED . . . . not 1/2 cup cooked.
    Like others, I'm really glad I found this ... I'm a class act portion distorter. At my husband's B-day dinner party on Tuesday, I ate what I thought was a decent amount of mostly beans, rice, and salad (we had tacos) but ended up with enough calories for 1.5 days! Actually, the visualizations helped me, maybe cause I have those things handy near my kitchen to compare with (okay, not the hockey puck). But I just use the SP meal plan and work with CalorieCount at to get the more precise weights.
  • I've been tracking my nutrition intake and can already see the difference. Now the challenge is to correct the portions sizes. As others have said before me, I also would appreciate the measures in weight or volume (for liquid). I can easily measure 1/2 cup oj but a hockey puck's worth?

    Lastly, it's interesting that this guide lists 1/2 cup cooked grains such as oatmeal when the nutrition tracker clearly uses the guide on the Quaker oats box: 1/2 cup dry=1 cup cooked. Dry cereal too is only 1/2 cup. ALL the boxes list 1 cup as a serving. I guess I have to make sure what I log on the nutrition tracker is the same as what I expect. Controlling the size and amount is the key.
  • I so agree that potions have been growing and it's not good. Even my husband that can eat everything and anything he wants, is complaining about the size of meals when we go out to eat. We do much more sharing or use the $1 menu.

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