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Monday, July 22, 2024

Get the Dish: A Visual Guide to Food Portions




One way to maintain a healthy weight is through portion control. But it’s hard to know how much you should be eating in an era of gigantic restaurant meals. Try this — compare the size of your meal to an everyday object.


Usually used to enjoy your favorite music, a compact disc is a great item to help visualize portions. One pancake (or waffle) and 1 ounce of lunch meat are both the size of a CD.

“©iStockphoto.com/Chris scredon

America’s favorite pastime — baseball! One cup of cooked or raw vegetables is about the size of this unmistakable sports item. One medium fruit is also equivalent to one baseball.


The audio cassette tape — yes, that ancient predecessor to the MP3 and compact discs — still has a use. Achieve better portion control by comparing one serving of bread to the size of a cassette tape.

“©iStockphoto.com/Carrie Winegarden

Half a cup of cut fruit, veggies or even cooked pasta adds up to about one tennis ball. One rounded handful is another way to eyeball half a cup.

“©iStockphoto.com/Victor Burnside

In one sitting, you should consume about 3 ounces of meat, fish or poultry. Visualize a deck of playing cards (or a checkbook for fish) to make sure your portion is the right size.

“©iStockphoto.com/Jeannot Olivet

Before you spread that peanut butter on a sandwich, remember that all you need for a healthy portion is 2 tablespoons. A dollop the size of a ping-pong ball size is a good rule of thumb.

“©iStockphoto.com/Nick M. Do

If you like board games, this one should be easy: Picture four stacked dice for that 1-ounce portion of cheese. Poker chips are another game piece that can help you quickly identify 1 tablespoon of butter, dressing or mayonnaise.

“©iStockphoto.com/Jaser Bratzadeh

Next time you’re surfing the Web, remember that the computer mouse in your hand is how big a serving of baked potato on your plate should be.

“©iStockphoto.com/Robert Hadfield

Think golf ball for those smaller portions of nuts and dried fruit. A serving of nuts is about a quarter cup and should be able to fit in the palm of your hand. To learn more about a healthy diet check out this Food Labels 101 article.

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