Ask Denise: How Do I Know What the Right Portion Looks Like?

Denise Austin by Denise Austin | July 28, 2015 | Nutrition

One of my favorite features of my blog is Ask Denise… I really enjoy answering your questions! This Ask Denise question comes from MichelleH, who is a monthly member of She says, “I struggle with portion sizes both when I’m cooking and especially when I’m dining out. How can I easily know what’s the right portion size?”

Good one, MichelleH!

A big part of staying fit and healthy is watching what we eat. Sometimes it’s not as necessarily the food we are choosing but how much we are having. Since the goal of this guide is to have food work for you and your health, knowing portion sizes is important. SO when in doubt, measure it out!

  • Fruit: 1 medium-size whole fruit; 1/2 cup cut-up fruit or berries (about the size of your fist).
  • Vegetables: 1 cup raw, leafy greens (about the size of a baseball); ½ cup cooked veggies (about the size of a light bulb).
  • Meat: 3-4 ounces meat, fish, or chicken. One portion is about the size of your palm or a deck of cards.
  • Dairy: 1 cup milk or milk alternative or cottage cheese; 1.5 ounces of hard cheese. One portion of milk is about the size of your palm or a deck of cards; one portion of cheese is about the size of four dice. 
  • Grains: 1 slice of bread; 1/2 – 1 cup grains or cereal (about the size of your fist); 1 cup cooked pasta or rice (about the size of a tennis ball) 
  • Healthy Fats: 1 teaspoon olive oil; a quarter of an avocado; 1-2 tablespoons nut butter (about the size of a golf ball); 1-2 tablespoons nuts (about the size of an egg). 

If you are watching your portion sizes, try these tips:

  • Serve your meal on salad plates. Your plate will look more full than if you use a dinner plate.
  • Store snack foods in single serving containers so you are sure you are eating no more than one portion.
  • When dining out, always order the smaller portion size if you tend to be tempted to eat everything on your plate.

Want to make portioning easy? Get my latest downloadable guide, my Stop The Clock Nutrition Plan! It includes shopping suggestions, cooking tips, a kitchen makeover, and – of course – tasty recipes! Plus a 7-day meal plan AND a 28-day food challenge! Check it out here!!

Have a great week!

Let’s get fitter, together – inside and out,


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