How to pick the right portion sizes
The portion size that’s right for you depends on what you’re eating and how much you need to feel satisfied while staying within your SmartPoints® Budget. Using tools like measuring cups and food scales makes it easy to dole out right-for-you portions when you’re at home. But toting those tools around when you’re out to dinner or at a party? That isn't going to cut it.
Luckily, no matter where you are, you've got a great portion estimator at hand—literally. Use this guide the next time you need to track a portion.
How to use your hands as a portion guide
- Your fist is about the same size as one cup of fruit or pasta.
- Your thumb (tip to base) is the size of one ounce of meat or cheese.
- Your palm (minus fingers) equals three ounces of meat, fish, or poultry.
- Your cupped hand equals one to two ounces of nuts or pretzels.
Of course, not all hands are the same size, so it wouldn't hurt to measure yours against some measuring spoons or cups, just so you know what you're working with.
Fruit portion guide
Although most fruit is a ZeroPoint food and they provide a lot of health benefits, they aren't calorie-free. So, what should you aim for? The general rule is two servings of fruit a day.
What does a serving of fruit look like?
- 1 medium apple, banana, orange, or pear
- 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits, or plums
1 cup fresh fruit salad
What about fruits that have SmartPoints?
Some fruit is more energy-dense (meaning, higher in calories) and easier to overeat than others. They're still nutritious, but you'll want to track them.
- Avocado: 1/4 medium
- Coconut: 1/4 cup
Dried fruit: 1/4 cup
Most vegetables are ZeroPoint foods—they’re a great way to bulk out your meals and help you feel fuller, longer. The USDA recommends 1 to 3 servings a day. A serving is about:
- Cooked non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, or carrots: 1 cup
- Leafy or raw vegetables: 2 cupts
Potatoes or other starchy vegetables, like corn: 1 medium (or 1 cup mashed)
And what about vegetables that have SmartPoints?
You'll want to take that into consideration when it comes to tracking.
Unsure if a veggie has SmartPoints or not? We've got you.
A serving of meat should take up about a quarter of your plate. Still unsure?
- Red meat: Aim for a portion about the size of your palm
- Poultry: Go for the size of a computer mouse
- Pork: A deck of cards
At least half the grains you eat in a day should be whole grain, according to the USDA.
*Unless you're on Purple and eating whole grains or whole-wheat pasta, you'll want to track the SmartPoints.
- Rice: 1/2 cup, cooked
- Pasta: 1/2 cup, cooked
- Bread: 1 slice
- Cereal: 1 cup
RELATED: The myWW guide to carbs on Purple
10 tips for measuring and portioning
6. Whether you're using a tablespoon or cup, it should be leveled off
The best-measuring spoons and cups are ones that can be squared off for easy leveling.
7. Take your portion and then move away
You can always go back for seconds if you're still hungry.
8. Eat on smaller plates
Or bring your lunch in a bento box. (Stylish!)
9. Go for built-in portion control
Buy individual servings of items. It may cost you a bit more, but consider it a health savings.
10. Don't match your food to your plate