OK, you’re trying to lose weight and you’re doing everything right:  exercising daily, drinking tons of water, getting lots of sleep, and eating all the right foods…but the scale refuses to budge.  What can be the problem?

Portions!  When we’re trying to lose weight, we need to eat the right amount of healthy foods.  Portions are the amount of food you SHOULD be eating.  In other words, serving size.  And, yes, it is possible to gain weight from eating too much healthy food!!

No one expects you to walk around with a food scale and measuring cups, but there is a way to measure food portions without the equipment – and it can be easy once we know how to use simple tools that are always on hand… literally.  J

Not everyone’s hands are exactly the same size, but below is a general guide that can be effectively used to estimate basic serving size equivalents.

1 CUP = 2 handfuls – a perfect serving size of berries or a serving size of cooked pasta

½ CUP = 1 heaping handful – great for a single serving of dry pasta, hot oatmeal, or cooked quinoa

¼ CUP = 1 level handful – good for a single serving size of nuts (approximately one ounce or 1/4 to 1/3 cup). 

1 FINGER SCOOP = 1 teaspoon for a single serving of butter or oil (a single serving of almond butter is typically 2 teaspoons).

2 FINGER SCOOP = 1 tablespoon – a single serving of hummus is usually 2 tablespoons.

You can also use your hands when measuring portions of meat and produce. 

For example, a single serving of chicken, beef, or fish is approximately 3-6 ounces, roughly the size of your palm (or a deck of cards). 

For fruits and veggies, a one-cup serving is roughly the size of your closed fist.

A single serving of cheese is approximately the size of your thumb.

When at the grocery store, many food packages look like they provide a single serving size but actually provide enough for 2-3 servings!  Make sure to read the nutritional facts label, which will help give you a good idea of a reasonable serving size.

If you’re going out for dinner, eating the right portion size can be even more challenging.  Most entrees can serve 2-3 people.  So try splitting an entrée with a friend or order an appetizer for your main course.

When eating at home, using a kitchen scale will offer the most accurate results of course, but if you don’t own a scale or are in a rush (which we always are!), using my guidelines above will be very… HANDY!
These simple skills – knowing how to measure our food portions accurately – is important to our overall health, especially if we’re looking to lose some weight or maintain what we have.   So take some time to learn and master checking food sizes and read those nutrition labels  and ingredient lists! 

Let me know how you are doing. I would love to hear from you!