Serving Size Vs. Portion Size
We’ve all been there: after enjoying a quick snack, we check the nutrition label only to learn we’ve just eaten two, three or even four servings when we thought we were having one. Our food industry tents do double, triple or even supersize portion sizes. Additionally, many of us have adjusted to these large serving sizes and are unaware of the accurate portion.
A serving size is a measured amount of food — 1 cup, 1 slice, 1 bag, etc. — intended to be eaten at one time.
However, a portion size is the amount of food or drinks you actually consume in one sitting, whether an entire rack of ribs with all the fixings or a single apple.
1 cup is the amount that fits in a mounded pile in the palm of a medium adult hand or about the size of a tennis ball.
1/4 cup in a medium adult hand: it should just cover the center portion of your palm.
1 serving of dried fruit or nuts is 1/4 cup (40 grams), which fills the center of the palm of a medium adult hand.
One medium piece of fresh fruit is about the size of a small fist or 3–4 inches in diameter.
A serving of leafy greens is technically 1 cup, however, we recommend doubling or tripling the portion — 2 cups is about what two medium adult hands can pick up in a single go.
Non-starchy vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, asparagus, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions. 1 cup of chopped, non-starchy vegetables creates a mounded handful in a medium adult hand.
Starchy vegetables include corn, peas, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, squash, zucchini and yams. A serving of starchy vegetables fits in an average adult hand.
Meat, Poultry and Fish
A 3-ounce piece of fish, poultry or meat is about the size of a deck of cards or the whole palm of your hand.
A serving of cheese is about the size of your index finger or 4 dice.
Depending on what variety you buy — skim, reduced-fat or whole — 1 cup measures about the size of a small fist.
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