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Hand Guide for Portion Control

Portion size and serving size aren’t always the same. A portion is the amount of food you choose to eat at one time, while a serving is a specific amount of food, such as one slice of bread or 8 ounces (1 cup) of milk.

These days, portions at restaurants are quite a bit larger than they were several years ago. One entrée can equal 3 or 4 servings! Studies show that people tend to eat more when they’re served more food, so getting portions under control is really important for managing weight and blood sugar.

If you’re eating out, have half of your meal wrapped up to go so you can enjoy it later. At home, measure out snacks; don’t eat straight from the bag or box. At dinnertime, reduce the temptation to go back for seconds by keeping the serving bowls out of reach. And with this “handy” guide, you’ll always have a way to estimate portion size at your fingertips:

Hand Guide Key

1. 3 ounces of meat, fish, or poultry

Palm of hand (no fingers)

2. 1 ounce of meat or cheese

Thumb (tip to base)

3. 1 cup or 1 medium fruit


4. 1–2 ounces of nuts or pretzels

Cupped hand

5. 1 tablespoon

Thumb tip (tip to 1st joint)

6. 1 teaspoon

Fingertip (tip to 1st joint)



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