Portion size is important but weighing and measuring food can be so inconvenient and time consuming! In the beginning stages of your recovery meal plan, you should weigh and measure foods so that you know what the exact portion size is. Then, start to visualize your portions using these guidelines below. It’s amazing how accurate just “eye-balling” it can be and you will start to recognize the appropriate portion sizes for your eating disorder meal plan automatically…and remember, “close enough is good enough!” If you are a perfectionist like me, you’ll probably want it to be exact. However, visualizing your food portions is a helpful skill to develop and you can follow these guidelines:
Estimating Portion Sizes for Recovery Meal Plan Success
Using your Hand:
Your Fist = 1 Cup
One cup of cereal, spaghetti, rice, vegetables or fruit is about the size of your closed fist.
Your Palm = 3 oz Serving of Meat
The average woman’s hand (minus fingers and thumb) is equal to a 3 ounce cooked serving of meat, fish or poultry.
Your Thumb Tip = 1 Teaspoon
One teaspoon of butter, peanut butter, mayonnaise, or sugar is about the size of your thumb tip.
Three thumb size portions equal about 1 Tablespoon.
1 to 2 Handfuls = 1 oz of Snack Food
For small foods such as nuts, 1 handful equals about 1 oz.
For chips or pretzels, 2 handfuls is about 1 oz.
1 Thumb = 1 oz
A 1 oz serving of cheese is about the size of your entire thumb.
Using Everyday Items:
1 cup cereal, rice, or pasta = a baseball
1 pancake = a CD (compact disk)
1/2 cup cooked rice = a cupcake wrapper
1 medium potato = size of regular computer mouse
1/2 cup vegetables (chopped) = a light bulb
1 medium fruit = a tennis ball
1 cup of fruit = a baseball
1/2 cup chopped fruit = 15 marbles
1/4 cup of dried fruit = 1 large egg
1 oz of cheese = 4 dice stacked or 2 saltine crackers
1.5 oz of cheese = 6 dice or 3 dominoes
3 oz serving of meat, fish, or poultry = 1 deck of cards or an audio cassette tape
1 oz meat = a match box
3 oz grilled fish = a checkbook
Fats, Oils & Sweets
1 oz nuts or seeds or 2 Tablespoons peanut butter, butter, salad dressing or mayonnaise = a ping pong ball
1 teaspoon butter, salad dressing or mayonnaise = a dice
1 oz of small candies = 1 handful
Desserts such as cakes, cookies, brownies, etc = 2 inch x 2 inch square = about the size of half of a business card