So How Big is a "Portion" Anyway?

January 26, 2017


You'll often see nutritional guidelines that refer to "portion sizes". You know, the ones that tell you "you should have one portion (sometimes referred to as a serving) of protein, one portion of vegetables and one portion of carbohydrates per meal". We've all seen them. But exactly how big is a portion anyway? Is it the same for everyone or is it individual? Well it's actually fairly straight forward and it's based on your size; and more precisely, the size of your hand.


Here are the general guidelines to measure out your food portions:


•    Your palm determines your protein portions (or 4 to 6 ounces when weighed cooked)
•    Your fist determines your veggie portions (about 4 ounces weighed cooked or raw, or 1 cup)
•    Your cupped hand determines your carb portions (about 4 ounces cooked, or 1 cup)
•    Your thumb determines your fat portions (about 1 ounce)

To determine your protein intake:

For protein-dense foods like meat, fish, eggs, dairy, or beans, use a palm sized serving, unless indicated otherwise in your meal suggestions.


To determine your vegetable intake:

For veggies like broccoli, spinach, salad, carrots, etc. use a fist-sized serving unless indicated otherwise in your meal suggestions.


To determine your carbohydrate intake:


For carbohydrate-dense foods – like grains, starches, or fruits – use a cupped hand to determine your serving size unless indicated otherwise in your meal suggestions.


To determine your fat intake:

For fat-dense foods – like oils, nut butters, nuts/seeds, etc. – use your entire thumb to determine your serving size.


The number of portions and frequency of meals each day should be based on your current body make-up, your target body make-up and lifestyle considerations. If you want to build muscle, achieve a flat stomach or a six-pack then nutrition is key!


Contact me if you'd like to discuss your personal nutritional requirements and have me put together a healthy eating plan that meets your needs and fuels your daily routine in all the right ways. Best way to start is by filling out the questionnaire located in the "Nutrition" tab of the menu on my site. I'll review your information and get in touch with ideas on how to get you started. 


Please Note: Eating plans take time to create, so they aren't free; but they're well worth the cost if you're serious about improving your nutrition and boosting your energy levels. Also, eating well often costs less than eating poorly, so the cost of a plan is typically offset by the savings made by buying fresh food. 



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