Portion Control for the Holidays

Practicing portion control matters when you’re trying to lose weight or keep it off. Yet studies have shown that adults weren’t always the best judges of appropriate serving sizes, and that translated into hundreds of additional daily calories.

If the idea of portion control conjures images of complicated food scales, measuring cups and calorie lists, you can relax. The only tool you need is at the end of your arm -- your hand. Use this quick guide to make sure the amount you’re dishing up is just right for you.

Your fist is equal to 1 cup

The right portion for rice, pasta, fruits and vegetables.

Your palm is equal to 3 ounces

The right portion for beef, fish and poultry.

1 handful (palms and fingers) is equal to 1 ounce

The right portion for nuts, and raisins and other dried fruit.

2 handfuls is equal to 1 ounce

The right portion for crackers, popcorn and pretzels.

Your thumb is equal to 1 ounce

The right portion for peanut and almond butters and salad dressing.

You thumb tip is equal to 1 teaspoon

The right portion for cooking oil, mayonnaise and butter.

Keep in Mind:

  • These amounts might seem small, but you should be eating more than 1 serving a day for most food groups.
  • A dry measurement of ounces refers to weight, rather than volume.

These sizes are not precise, but rough equivalents as hand size varies from person to person.