Portions, Weight Loss and You

If you are trying to lose weight, then you may have started to pay closer attention to what you eat every day. Eating more produce and less processed food is a great way to get started with your weight loss program. But when it comes to losing weight, you have to pay attention to how much you eat, too.

As it turns out, a lot of people guess incorrectly when it comes to estimating portion sizes. To lose weight, portions shouldn’t be a guessing game. Take the time to measure out portions correctly so you know exactly how much you are consuming at every meal. Eating too much at mealtime can be just as dangerous as overdoing it with multiple snacks, so be careful with your portion sizes.


Here are a few tips to help you stick to healthy portion sizes:

Always read the nutrition label

Never assume that one bag, box or bottle is one serving. Sodas, juices and other sugary beverages are particularly notorious for sticking multiple servings in one package. The nutrition label will tell you the exact size of one serving, and how many of those servings you should be able to get per package.


Measure, don’t guess, portion sizes

Don’t just guess what three ounces of an item might be. Break out your kitchen scale and measure. You can also use visual cues to give you approximate estimates of a healthy portion when a scale isn’t accessible. Good visual cues include:

  • A potato is the size of a computer mouse
  • Half a cup of pasta is the size of a hockey puck
  • Three ounces of meat is the size of a deck of cards
  • Two teaspoons of mayonnaise is the size of two dice
  • A pancake should be the size of a CD


You can also use your hand as a visual guide to achieve an approximate measurement:

  • Use your fist to measure one serving of salads, soups, fresh fruits, cereal and casseroles
  • A cupped palm will hold ½ cup, or one serving, of rice, pasta, beans and potatoes
  • One serving of meat is the size of an outstretched palm
  • Use your thumb to measure one serving of cheese, dressings or peanut butter

Know that there are certain environments where overeating is prevalent. Restaurants are one of these places. When you find yourself eating out, make a habit of asking for a box right away, and only eat half of your meal. This way you are less likely to overeat, and chances are half of your meal will be plenty to fill you up!

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