Know Your Sizes

measuring cupsServing sizes that is. One of the biggest reasons people have gained weight over the years has been the ever-growing portion sizes. During the past 30 years, commercial food companies have produced larger products (think 6-ounce soda bottle vs. current 20-ounce variety or 110-calorie bagel vs. the now 310-calorie behemoth), restaurants have provided bigger and bigger entrees and, having gotten used to these new portions as normal, we eat larger portions at home as well. Notice I refer to “portions” that we eat, as opposed to standard serving sizes. Servings being the recommended amounts and portions being whatever we or the food producers decide to put on our plates.

We CAN re-gain our perspective and familiarize ourselves with the USDA-recommended serving sizes. We can do so by doling out our food and drink using kitchen measuring spoons and cups. Soon our eyes will be trained to spot the correct serving size unaided by measuring devices. Another way is to associate servings with common, every-day products (e.g. 3 ounces of fish = a checkbook, 1 pancake = a compact disc). Below are the associations contained on a pocket-sized serving-size card I provide to all my clients as one means of getting used to “standardized” amounts recommended by the USDA. After a short time of measuring plus perusing these serving-size associations, you should be able to eyeball the correct serving size pretty accurately. Then you’ll be able to eat hearty, but not too much!


• 1 cup of cereal flakes = fist

• 1 pancake = compact disc

• ½ cup of cooked rice, pasta, or potato = ½ baseball

• 1 slice of bread = cassette tape

• 1 piece of cornbread = bar of soap


• 1 cup of salad greens = baseball

• 1 baked potato = fist

• 1 med. fruit = baseball

• ½ cup of fresh fruit = ½ baseball

• ¼ cup of raisins = large egg


• 1½ oz. cheese = 4 stacked dice or 2 cheese slices

• ½ cup of ice cream = ½ baseball


• 3 oz. meat, fish, and poultry = deck of cards

• 3 oz. grilled/baked fish = checkbook

• 2 Tbsp. peanut butter = ping pong ball


• 1 tsp. margarine or spreads = 1 dice

2 thoughts on “Know Your Sizes

    • I’m glad it helps Rob. And good point about the to-go boxes at restaurants, since their entrees are big enough for at least two meals!

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