Picture-Perfect Portion Sizes

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Picture-Perfect Portion Sizes

Whether you're going out to eat or trying to read a nutrition facts label, proper portions are essential for weight control. When you don't have access to measuring cups and spoons, use these everyday objects to estimate your portion sizes like a pro.

1/4 cup = One Egg

A medium egg is about the size of a one-quarter cup. That's the proper size for serving of dried fruit.

1/2 cup = One Billiard Ball

One-half cup is about the size of a billiard ball. A half-cup portion is a single serving of the following foods: cooked grains (such as oats or brown rice), dry cereal, raw fruit (canned, fresh or frozen), cooked vegetables, and cooked beans or legumes.

1 cup = A Baseball

Don't have a measuring cup on hand? Then think of a baseball, which is about the same size. One cup of raw, leafy greens (like salad) counts as a serving of vegetables and one cup of milk counts as a single serving of dairy.

6 oz = A Hockey Puck

Fluid ounces are often harder to measure, especially when glasses and cups vary in size and shape. But 6 oz. of volume takes up about the same amount of space as a hockey puck, which is equivalent to one serving of 100% fruit or vegetable juice.

2 Tbsp = A Ping Pong Ball

Estimate a 2-tablespoon serving size (which is equal to one serving of nuts, seeds or peanut butter) by picturing a ping pong ball.

2-3 oz = A Deck of Cards

Although most servings of meat, tofu and fish double or triple the standard serving size of 2-3 ounces, you can eyeball your protein portions by picturing a deck of playing cards.

1 oz = A Pair of Dice

One ounce. That's the proper serving size for a serving of cheese. You can estimate your portions knowing that one ounce of cheese is about the size of a pair of dice.

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Member Comments on this Slideshow

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1/17/2010 1:16:25 AM

That's a great way to measure. I was on Weight Watchers 12-15 years ago & measured every tiny speck I ate with a true OCD mentality. Lost weight though! Gained it back though! Even after all this time, I can guess by sight what foods measure. This slideshow was a great reminder to really think about it carefully if you're not getting out the food scale, measuring cup & spoons. Thanks SparkPeople!


1/16/2010 10:06:51 AM

I am going to see what my children think correct serving sizes are. I bet they'll be as off track asn I am since I raise them : ) They are 3,8,13,and 17 years. Great visual information.


1/7/2010 11:32:44 AM

I aways have trouble with sizes. This is a great article and thank you for posting.


11/24/2009 10:55:20 PM

Thanks for posting this. It gives me a better idea of what actual portions are instead of guessing from some random measurements that I make up on my own.


10/8/2009 10:36:10 AM

The deck of cards appears to be a double deck rather than a standard 52 card deck. Which one should be used for a serving of meat?


9/18/2009 5:02:22 PM

SHINAKO's SparkPage
I love picture analogies. I often forget to break out the measuring spoons for meals like breakfast and lunch, so I find myself "picturing" the portions out instead!


9/10/2009 12:21:30 PM

JANIELEE54's SparkPage
Great post! I have a hard time judging oz when eating meat! This should help.

Probably what I think is 6 oz I should cut in half!!!


8/30/2009 5:45:17 PM

HONEYBEAR1981's SparkPage
very good comparisons, thank you for posting this


8/6/2009 1:02:24 AM

That is great. Using common things to measure by is so much more simple and fun than having to get out the scale, etc.


6/25/2009 3:13:52 PM

This was wonderful for me because I am having a really hard time with the portions. Thanks a bunch!!


6/18/2009 3:44:58 PM

just what I needed :)


5/16/2009 10:28:28 AM

Sure makes you knowledgeable of how you're over eating. This is a great program!


4/22/2009 5:28:25 PM

LOVE IT! Really helps for a mental image when your out and don't have the ability to measure.


3/17/2009 1:55:27 PM

SHERYLJ2011's SparkPage
This is great, but what if you don't know how big all these balls are in relation to one another - I can get the die and the baseball, but a ping pong ball? Hockey puck? Didn't the distortion guide article have other comparisons before? Was the article changed? It looks different.


3/12/2009 1:03:35 AM

ok that is cool

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