Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Serving Sizes

Serving sizes are sometimes a mystery. Especially when eating out! When I eat out, I generally assume most of what I am eating is 2 servings. One trick is to ask for a "doggy bag" when your food is delivered. Immediately put half of the food in the box to have for lunch the next day.

Another trick I do is to split an entree. One time, Michael and I went to one of our favorite restaurants for lunch, Papa Haydn's in Sellwood. We got the Croque Monsieur (Black forest ham or turkey on grilled parmesan coated bread with gruyére and dijon) and split the sandwich. We also ordered a caesar salad and split that. It was the perfect serving size for us!

When eating processed food, pay attention to the labels. I found a nifty guide online (see above left). Sometimes there's multiple servings in an item and you don't even realize it!

Here is a general guide on serving sizes:

Meat or Poultry (cooked)
Suggested portion: 3 - 4 oz.
Size guide: A deck of playing cards or a computer mouse

Fish (cooked)
3 - 4 oz.
A checkbook, or an eyeglass case

Salad greens
1 cup
Two cupped handfuls

Veggies (raw or cooked)
1/2 cup
Roughly the size of a baseball

Fresh fruit
1 medium piece
A baseball

1 small slice
A cassette tape

Pancakes and waffles
2 small pancakes or waffles
A compact disc

1 cup
Your fist

1/2 cup
Cupcake wrapper

A small potato, about 3 oz. (most restaurants serve 6 - 12 ounces of potatoes!)
A bar of soap

Dried cereal
1 cup
Your fist

Dried fruits and nuts
1 oz.
An egg

1 1/2 oz.
A large eraser or 4 stacked dice

Yogurt and milk
1 cup
A fist

Ice cream
1/2 cup
1/2 a baseball, or a Clementine

1 oz.
Small package of dental floss

Oil, mayonnaise, and butter
1 teaspoon*
The tip of your thumb

*Most people use far more butter and oil than the standard serving size, 1 teaspoon. For reference, 3 "tips of your thumb" measurements are equal to about one tablespoon.


  1. Great guidelines. I usually follow the palm of the hand for protein and fist for carbs rule. It's surprising how much smaller a portion we should be eating than we might think-even when it comes to the healthier choices.

    I like your idea of sharing an entree. That would be a really good idea when you want a splurge meal. That way there are no leftovers to take home! :)

  2. Sharing is great because I get to try things I'd never order for only myself because of the calories.

    And yes--servings sizes are WAY smaller than we think. I learned that by eating Lean Cuisines. Boo, I want more food! lol :)

  3. I like the idea of sharing but I always feel like the server will think I'm doing it to be cheap. I don't know why I should care what they think but I do.

    I kinda wish I saw this before I ate lunch (which was a huge hunk of bread dipped in a lot of olive oil). I wasn't feeling good so I went straight for comfort food and apparently that meant multiple servings of it. haha oops.

  4. Rachel--don't feel bad. When I'm not feeling well I immediately go for the comfort food!

    As for sharing, I don't care what the server thinks. I'm going to do it! :)