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Nutrition Articles  ›  Quick and Easy

The Portion Distortion Guide

A List of Serving Sizes

-- By Nicole Nichols, Fitness Instructor & Health Educator
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Meat and Beans: Aim for 2-3 servings each day. Choose lean meats and plant proteins whenever possible.

Examples One serving equals That's about the size of
Meat & Tofu 2-3 oz cooked beef, poultry, fish, tofu Deck of cards
Beans 1/2 cup cooked beans, split peas, legumes Billiard ball
Nuts & Seeds 2 Tbsp nuts, seeds, or nut butters Ping pong ball

Dairy: Aim for 2-3 servings of calcium-rich foods each day. Choose low- or non-fat products whenever possible.

Examples One serving equals That's about the size of
Cheese 1 ounce or 1 thin slice of cheese A pair of dice
Milk 1 cup milk, yogurt, soy milk Baseball

Fats & Oils: Eat fats and oils sparingly and in small portions. Choose heart-healthy fats whenever possible.

Examples One serving equals That's about the size of
Fat & Oil 1 tsp butter, margarine, oil One die




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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
Nicole was named "America's Top Personal Trainer to Watch" in 2011. A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, she loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Her DVDs "Total Body Sculpting" and "28 Day Boot Camp" (a best seller) are available online and in stores nationwide. Read Nicole's full bio and blog posts.

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Member Comments

  • THEDIETPLATE
    Either that or use The Diet Plate, it has been clinically trialed and when used 80% of the time you are 6 times more likely to lose weight and 3 times more likely to take control of Type 2 Diabetes. No other similar product in the world has this clinical trial. Just go to your browser and type in The Diet Plate. - 4/3/2014 4:09:15 AM
  • COOPERREID
    Hi Sparkpeople family,

    I no longer have problems with portion control. I order a diabetic template from the DB, you use this template thats already measured you just put it in the middle of your plate. It tells you when to stop full or half full for vegetables, meat, fruit, or starch. It wasn't expensive. - 2/8/2014 6:39:17 PM
  • BERNARDAG
    Interesting measurements, good guide when we have to eat in restaurants or social events, actually is a little portion, my concern is that checking the ingredients from Spark recipes I can see any control of that, I can see how it comes with a lot oil, flour etc., if I am counting calories in one meal for instance it is over passing . Personally I have to subtract many ingredients of them lest tasty but worthy for me - 11/13/2013 12:03:17 PM
  • 2 dice size of cheese is a tease - 10/9/2013 5:52:19 PM
  • Good guidelines to help keep portions under control! - 10/9/2013 12:54:32 AM
  • Is this portions per each item listed, for one whole meal? - 8/31/2013 11:17:21 PM
  • I think the article is great, I agree with the "Hockey Puck" comment though (and I'm Canadian??) but once you have weighed etc. find your own reference, It's an excellent guideline. - 8/21/2013 9:40:37 AM
  • WIDGET65
    Definitely need visual guides such as these. - 8/10/2013 9:28:40 PM
  • Great article. I need this. It came in right at time for I am not getting the exercise that I need. My hip really getting me. - 7/9/2013 6:44:26 PM
  • This is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you! My only suggestion/questi
    on is that I don't know what a "hockey puck" worth of juice is supposed to mean. But it's okay, as I don't really tend to drink fruit juice much anyhow.

    - 6/28/2013 9:49:36 AM
  • BOBBIYSMAEL
    Does anyone know how I can get my profile image on my comments? If so e-mail me at bobbiysmael@yahoo
    .com. Thank you - 5/3/2013 11:34:33 PM
  • BOBBIYSMAEL
    This is good because it will help me watch my portions. Thank you SPARKGUY - 5/3/2013 11:31:57 PM
  • i agree with the hand measurement i i scooped a hand full of almonds once and then counted used my scale and they were exactly one ounce - 5/3/2013 9:25:13 PM
  • CDCCDC1
    Well this was VERY helpful to me, and thanks - 4/28/2013 1:51:46 PM
  • weogh and measure weigh and measure weigh and measure..and carry the stuff with you ..i have a collapsible cup and stuff i carry in a little bag..weigh and measure!!
    the lady mary - 4/4/2013 3:42:13 PM