(Source: Mayo Clinic)
Use visual cues for portion control
Portion control is an important concept when you’re trying to lose weight and keep it off. But you don’t need to memorize a food list or carry around measuring cups to get a better handle on serving sizes. Instead, use common visual cues to remind yourself of appropriate serving sizes.
How? Many foods match up to everyday objects.
For example, a medium pepper is about the size of a baseball and equals
one vegetable serving. While not all foods perfectly match visual cues, this
method can help you better judge serving sizes and practice portion control,
which may help with weight loss.
If you think the servings seem small, don’t panic. Remember that you can
eat multiple servings every day from each food group.
One small apple is about the same size as a tennis ball and equals one fruit serving, or about 60 calories. The same is true for a medium orange, which is also the size of a tennis ball and about 60 calories.
Other fruit servings
Fruit – 1 serving size (60 calories)
Banana – 1 small
Cherries – 15 whole
Strawberries, whole – 1½ cups
100 percent pure fruit juice, unsweetened – 1/2 cup
Half a cup of cooked carrots is about the same as half a baseball and equals one vegetable serving, or about 25 calories. You can eat even more raw leafy vegetables. Two cups of spinach — think of two baseballs — are about 25 calories.
Other vegetable servings
Asparagus, cooked 1/2 cup (6 spears)Vegetable 1 serving (25 calories)
Cauliflower 1 cup florets (about 8)
Green beans, canned or frozen 2/3 cup
Tomato sauce, canned 1/3 cup
Zucchini, cooked or fresh 3/4 cup
Half a cup of whole-grain cooked pasta is about the same size as a hockey puck and equals one carbohydrate serving, or about 70 calories. If pasta isn’t your thing, picture brown rice instead. You can have 1/3 cup of cooked brown rice for 70 calories.
Carbohydrate 1 serving (70 calories)
Bun or roll, whole-grain 1 small
Cereal, cold, flake-type 3/4 cup
Crackers, whole-wheat 8
Muffin, any flavor 1 small
One and a half to 2 ounces of low-fat hard cheddar cheese are about the same size as three to four dice and equal one protein/dairy serving, or about 110 calories.
Other protein/dairy servings
Cheese, ricotta, part-skim 1/3 cup
Cheese spread 30 gram
Cottage cheese, low-fat 2/3 cup
Milk, skim or 1% 1 cup
Soy milk, low-fat 1 cup
Yogurt, plain, unsweetened 2/3 cup
A 75 gram piece of cooked skinless chicken is about the same size as two-thirds of a deck of cards and equals one protein/dairy serving, or about 110 calories. The same is true for a 60 gram patty of cooked lean hamburger, which equals one serving and has about 110 calories.
Protein/dairy 1 serving (110 calories)
Baked beans, canned 1/2 cup
Egg 1 whole
Fish (haddock), grilled or broiled 85 gram
Pork sausage, smoked 2 small links
Tofu, firm or silken soft 2 slices (25 mm width)
Other fat servings
Fat 1 serving (45 calories)
Almonds 7 almonds
Avocado 1/6 section of fruit
Butter, regular 1 teaspoon
Peanut butter, chunky or smooth 1½ teaspoons
Salad dressing, ranch, regular 2 teaspoons
Vegetable oil (olive, canola, safflower) 1 teaspoon
It may take some practice to become a better judge of serving sizes and
portions, especially as you put entire meals together. But the more you
practice visualizing the cues, the more control you’ll have over portion sizes.
Controlling portion sizes also means controlling calories — and that’s key to achieving your weight-loss goals.