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What is a Healthy Portion?

cartoon plate with divisions for fruits, grains, protein and vegetables

Food portions are larger than ever these days—usually much more than we need. Choose your starting portion size by relating food to everyday items.

  • Meat or Fish: A serving of meat, fish, or poultry is equal to a deck of cards.
  • Fruits & Veggies: A serving of fruit or vegetables is about the size of a tennis ball.
  • Nut Butter or Salad Dressing: A serving of nut butter or salad dressing is about the size of a ping-pong ball.
  • Toddler Portions: For toddlers, the right portion size is the size of the palm of their hand.

Tips to help keep your portions right-sized.

  • 1 Portion: Start with one portion of each food on your plate. If you are still hungry, you can always get more.
  • MyPlate Model: Fill half of your plate with veggies or fruit, ¼ with protein, and ¼ with starch, preferably a whole grain.
  • Check Package: Check the serving size on packaged foods for guidance on portion size
  • Sit Down: Eat your food while sitting down and using a plate or bowl. Avoid eating directly out of packages.
  • Eat Regularly: Eat regularly throughout the day; this helps keep you from getting too hungry.
  • Use Smaller Plates: Serve food on smaller plates.
  • Restaurants: At restaurants, ask for a lunch-size portion, split your meal, or box up half to take home.
  • Savor Your Food: Slow down, start with smaller portions, savor your food, and eat only until you are satisfied instead of “cleaning your plate”.
  • Be A Role Model: Role model the behaviors that you want your children to develop.

 

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