Portions and Servings

— Written By and last updated by

A portion or helping is the amount of food you choose to eat. It is what you serve yourself or what might come in a package of food. A serving is the amount used to help people know how much to eat and to find out the amount of calories, fat, sugar, vitamins and other nutrients in the food or drink. We need to use MyPlate as our guide to balance out the total number of servings we eat each day. One half of our plates should be fruits and vegetables, 1/4 protein and 1/4 grains. Remember it isn’t always what we are eating, but how much we are eating. Here are some tips to measure and control portion sizes.

  • Use your plate as a portion guide. Using a plate for control can help you curb your food intake. You can divide your plate into sections based on the food groups.
  • Use your various items as a serving guide. Example: tennis ball=serving size of ice cream, medium piece of fruit, cup of cereal, medium baked potato
  • Cut the meal in half when eating out. Restaurant portions tend to be twice the size of regular portions.
  • Start all meals with a glass of water. Drinking a glass of water before a meal will naturally aide in portion control.
  • Take it slowly. Sitting down with no other distractions will regulate portion control and reduce overeating.
  • Use a food diary. Jotting down your total calorie intake can increase awareness of what you consume.

There are many practical steps that you can take to control portions. These simple changes can help with reducing portions without compromising on taste or feelings of being full.

MyPlate Inforgraphic