Healthy Diet Plan: Proper Serving Sizes

Filed Under: Diet, Weight Loss, General Health
Last Reviewed 07/17/2014

While appropriate food choices are essential when following a healthy diet plan, quantity is just as stick to serving sizesimportant as quality. Overeating leads to weight gain, and excess weight is a known risk factor for insulin resistance and blood sugar problems. That’s why I want to share some general guidelines on how to determine proper serving sizes.

Fortunately, determining how much you should eat is fairly easy. A majority of items purchased in food stores have proper serving sizes printed on the nutrition facts label. Proper serving sizes are typically included in recipes as well. Just because you stick to the proper serving sizes doesn’t mean that you have to waste food. Leftovers make for great healthy snacks or, depending on the amount of food, another meal entirely.

Here are a few other guidelines for proper portion sizes that you should follow. These are recommended individual serving sizes.

Proper Serving Sizes for Protein:

  • 3-4 ounces of fish, chicken, or meat = standard deck of playing cards
  • 1 ounce of cheese = a domino

Proper Serving Sizes for Cooked Pasta, Rice, and Beans:

  • ½ cup = half a baseball

Proper Serving Sizes for Vegetables:

  • Raw, 1 cup = a baseball
  • Cooked, ½ cup = half a baseball

Proper Serving Sizes for Fruit:

  • A medium-sized piece = a tennis ball

Proper Serving Sizes for Dried Fruit:

  • ¼ cup = a golf ball

Other Tips for Sticking With a Healthy Diet Plan and Proper Serving Sizes

Sticking to a healthy diet plan and proper serving sizes can be a challenge, so here are a few other healthy eating tips to help you stay on track.

  1. Drink a full glass of water before meals. Drinking a full glass of water 15–30 minutes before meals will help make you feel fuller. This practice has also been shown to promote weight loss in several studies.
  2. Eat slowly. It takes a while for your brain to register feelings of satiety, so make a conscious effort to chew your food several times before swallowing and try putting your fork down between bites to help you slow down.
  3. Fill up on vegetables or a little extra protein. If the above tips don’t work for you and you must eat more, then fill up on vegetables or a little extra high-quality protein.

Now it’s your turn: Do you have any other tips for sticking with a healthy diet plan and proper serving sizes?

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