How do I figure out portion sizes when I’m logging my food?

Portion sizes have increased over the past 2 decades, so it can be tough to differentiate standard servings (aka the amount experts say we should eat) from portion size (how much we choose to eat).

You may have rock-star intentions for a meal to include 3 ounces of meat and 2 cups of veggies, but zero access to food packages and scales (especially when dining out or at a friend’s house) can make figuring out actual serving sizes tricky. (“This gooey ice cream sundae is totally a half cup, right?”)

Paying close attention to serving sizes when measuring tools are available is important, but it’s always helpful to have easy comparisons in a pinch:

  • 1 tsp butter = Tip of thumb
  • 1/2 cup mashed potatoes = half an apple
  • 1/2 cup cooked spaghetti = baseball
  • 1/2 cup ice cream = tennis ball
  • 3 ounces beef = deck of cards
  • 1 cup green salad = baseball
  • 1/2 cup cooked broccoli = light bulb
  • 3 ounces grilled/baked fish = checkbook
  • 1/2 cup rice = fits into cupped hand
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