Serving and Portion Sizes
Don’t let your eyes get bigger than your stomach! Watching how much you eat can help you maintain a healthy weight.
A “serving” is how much of each type of food you should eat to meet recommended daily nutrition requirements. A “portion” is how much of a single food is actually on your dish—it can vary from meal to meal. When eating your daily meals:
- Stop eating when you are satisfied, not full. If there’s still food on your plate, save it for another time.
- Use a smaller plate, bowl, or glass to help you eat and drink less.
- Order an item from the menu instead of heading for the “all-you-can-eat” buffet.
- Skip the “super sizes.”
- Share a restaurant entrée with a friend—or eat just half and take home the rest.
- Read What’s On Your Plate?, the National Institute on Aging guide to healthy eating.
- Visit http://www.choosemyplate.gov to see how much to eat from each food group based on your age, sex, and physical activity level.
Picture a serving size with these examples:
- 3 ounces of meat or poultry = a deck of cards
- 1–1 1/2 ounces of hard cheese = four dice
- 2 tablespoons of cream cheese = a golf ball
- 1 cup of salad or cooked vegetables = a baseball
- 3 ounces grilled/baked fish = checkbook
Put leftovers in the fridge within 2 hours if not sooner. Then enjoy them the next day for lunch or dinner.