Navigating the health food landscape isn’t easy. Even if you’re disciplined enough to sidestep the snack aisle, you still need to watch your portion sizes. In most countries, packaged food must include the suggested serving size. That said, it’s easy to get crossed up.
Our advice? Pick up a simple kitchen scale and get in the habit of measuring out your daily portions. Don’t own a scale yet? Bookmark this article and use it as a handy reference.
Now, let’s take a closer look at some popular fav-foods and their recommended servings. Ready? Order up!
Now, if you’re using your favorite Mediterranean restaurant as your base point, you’re going to be disappointed. Rice is one of the most popular side dishes in the world. No surprise considering how easy it is to make.
That said, it’s also one of the easiest dishes to overserve. A standard serving size of cooked rice is around a ½ cup, or roughly the size of a tennis ball.
Lean, versatile, delicious… chicken is a dietary staple in most healthy meal plans. According to this study, the US consumes at least 8 billion chickens per year. But, just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want! A healthy serving size of boneless chicken breast is approximately 4 ounces. For those without a scale, 4 ounces of chicken is about the size of an average smartphone.
Guilty pleasure alert! Peanut butter is an absolute favorite around my house. It’s creamy, smooth, and dense, and tastes delicious on just about everything. But it’s also very high in fat, and calorie dense. A recommended serving size of peanut butter is about 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) or roughly the size of a ping pong ball.
Much like peanut butter, yogurt can be healthy when consumed in moderation. It’s filling and full of healthy fats and probiotics. But, it can also contain a whole lot of sugar depending on the brand, so be sure to read the label.
When packing your office lunch, it’s wise to limit your yogurt serving to 1 cup, or about the size of a baseball.
Whomever made the bold claim that you can never have too much of a good thing clearly wasn’t a dietician. Quinoa is loaded with protein and vitamins but it’s also high in carbohydrates and calories.
A single, recommended serving size of Quinoa is half of a cup of the cooked grains or the size of a mini computer mouse.
Looking for a quick office snack? Almonds are a fantastic source of protein and Omega 3’s. And, most importantly, they’ll fill you up in a pinch! I keep a bag in my desk drawer to keep me from running to the vending machine at work.
A quarter of a cup is all your belly needs. Don’t have a measuring cup handy? A serving size of almonds measures out to about the length of a common pencil if you lay the almonds end to end.
You know that giant, steaming slab of meat on the menu at your favorite chop house? Spoiler alert: that’s a little too much.
Keep the serving size a bit smaller, savor every bite and feel great! The professionals recommend keeping your serving size of beef down to about 4 ounces, which is roughly the size of the palm of your hand.
Fatty, delicious and it goes great with cookies is extremely healthy! It’s also an important component in a whack load of your favorite foods.
Looking to sip on some before bed? Keep it to a single cup or about the size of your fist.
Mmmm… chocolate. Not only is dark chocolate incredibly delicious, but it also has a surprising number of health benefits. It’s a fantastic source of anti-oxidants, fiber, magnesium, iron and more. We’re talking dark chocolate (85% or more), so put down that Snickers bar.
When it comes to dark chocolate, keep your serving size to 20 grams, or about the size of a business card.
I know what you’re thinking. A serving size of a bagel is obviously a bagel. But that’s not exactly true. You see, bagels are incredibly dense, even more so than your typical slice of bread. As such, a recommended bagel serving size is just half of a bagel. As far as the size of that bagel half goes, aim for something similar to the size of your typical tabletop coaster.
Morning, noon or night, cereal is ALWAYS a safe bet. The cereal aisle can be a bit of a minefield though, so be sure to read your nutrition labels and avoid the stuff with too much sugar. On average, a serving size of cereal (dry) is ¾ of a cup, paired with a ½ cup of milk, which measures out to about the size of a small medium sized grapefruit.
Spoiler alert: that XXL coffee mug sitting on your desk is way bigger than a serving size. For example, a “Grande” at your local Starbucks contains about 16 ounces of coffee, which measures out to nearly 3 times a normal serving size. That’s right, a typical serving size of coffee is 6 ounces. That’s a full measuring cup or about 1/3 of a typical bottle of water.
Most nutritionists would tell you that a healthy serving size of potato chips is 0 chips. But we’re realistic. If you like potato chips, you’re going to eat them eventually. And why shouldn’t you? As long as you exercise and watch your portion sizes, indulging in your favorite salty snack can be a great way to reward yourself!
A general rule of thumb for potato chips is the 10 chip rule. Or, about a handful.
Measuring out spaghetti can be tricky. You can’t exactly fit raw spaghetti into a measuring cup. Personally, I like to use my kitchen scale and weigh it out. For those that don’t own one (shame on you), here are some tips and tricks.
Typically, a serving size of spaghetti noodles is one full cup of cooked pasta, which is roughly the size of your fist.
You’re on Healthversed, so you already understand the importance of eating fruits and vegetables. But a little reminder never hurt anyone. A typical serving size of your favorite vegetable is 1 cup cooked or about the size of your fist. Though, if you want to eat a little extra, we won’t stand in your way.
Hey, who doesn’t like a slice of pizza every once and a while? Pizza isn’t health food, but it’s delicious and you’re probably going to eat some eventually. The Canadian pizza chain “Pizza Pizza” has a really helpful serving size chart on their website, but a good rule of thumb is 1 serving size = 1 small slice (about the size of your hand).
When it comes to fruit and serving sizes, there are a lot of variables. Serving sizes vary from type to type. So here’s a little rundown of popular fruit serving sizes:
- A serving size of banana should be about the size of your hand.
- A serving size of blueberries, strawberries, grapes and melons can fill a bowl the size of your fist.
- Oranges and apples, well… one full fruit should do just fine.
Potatoes make the culinary world go ‘round. Well… not really. But potatoes and their many variations are incredible popular. Mashed, roasted, fried, baked… they are incredibly delicious, and incredibly easy to overeat.
The magic number to remember is 1 cup. Which means one small sized potato (the size of your fist), 20 French fries (nearly one handful), 1 cup of mashed potatoes (the size of a hockey puck) and 1 cup of roasted potatoes (the size of a baseball).
Alcohol can be very, very unhealthy. But, in moderation and in social situations, it can be a great way to reward yourself. Serving sizes vary from drink to drink, but here’s a little run down:
- A healthy serving size of beer is 1 small can
- Wine is about 5 ounces (about the size of a tennis ball)
- Distilled spirits is 1.5 fluid ounces (about the size of a golf ball)
- Malt liquor is about 8 fluid ounces (enough to fill an average coffee mug)