Handy Portion Control

You often hear that portion control is the key to weight management, but that first requires knowing what an accurate portion actually is. Use this convenient portion control tool to size things up – it's free, and always on hand!

While a food scale, measuring cups, and measuring spoons provide the most accurate way to keep track of how much food you eat, they're not always practical. The average female hand provides a great visual aid for measuring portions of a variety of foods, and can be used anywhere, anytime. Because hand sizes vary, one option is to actually measure out the various foods at home, then gauge them against your hand so you know how to adjust.

Here is a guide to hand dimensions and their corresponding recommended food portions:

Palm –Equals about 3 ounces of cooked meat or fish (should be the thickness of the palm as well)
Fist – Equals about 1 cup of fruits, vegetables, cereal, soup and beverages
Rounded handful – Equals about 1/2 cup cooked rice, pasta, or beans; snack foods such as popcorn, chips and pretzels
Tightly cupped hand – A tightly cupped hand equals about 1-2 ounces of nuts (10-12 almonds)
Thumb (from tip to second joint) – Equals about 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, cream cheese, sour cream; or 1 ounce of cheese
Nail of thumb – Equals about 1 teaspoon of oil or butter