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Ask Denise: How Do I Know What the Right Portion Looks Like?

Fresh ripe natural fruits, glass of juice and tape measure on cutting board, concept for slimming, healthy nutrition and strengthening immunity


Hi Everyone!

My favorite new feature of the blog is Ask Denise—I really enjoy answering your questions! This week’s Ask Denise question comes from MichelleH, who is a monthly member of my website. She says, “I struggle with portion sizes both when I’m cooking and especially when I’m dining out. How can I easily know what’s the right portion size?”

Good one, MichelleH! Of course, a big part of staying fit and healthy is watching what we eat. Sometimes it’s not as necessarily the food we are choosing but how MUCH we are having.

I’m a big believer of everything in moderation. We all have to ask ourselves, what do my portion sizes look like? When something tastes too good am I having more than I should? Always remember that food should work for you, not against you!

When it doubt, measure it out! Here are a few quickie checkpoints for you to use to make sure you’re not overeating the foods your love and getting all the right portions, too.

Shrink Wrap Your Serving Size: Keep these tips in mind to control your serving sizes.

  • Fruit: 1 medium-size whole fruit; 1-cup cut-up fruit or berries.  It should be no larger than your fist.
  • Vegetables: 1-2 cups. Again, no larger than your fist.
  • Protein: 3-4 ounces meat, fish, or chicken; 1 cup dairy; 1/2 cup beans. About the size of your palm or a deck of cards.
  • Grains: 1 slice of bread; 1/2-1 cup grains, cereal or beans. Again, about the size of your fist.
  • Healthy Fats: 1 teaspoon olive oil; a quarter of an avocado; 2 tablespoons vinaigrette salad dressing; 1-2 tablespoons natural peanut or almond butter; 1-2 tablespoons nuts (equals your cupped hand).

Here’s how it should really look:

Food What the right serving size looks like
1 oz of cheese Your thumb, tip to base
Apple, small Tennis ball
Chicken breast, 4oz Your palm
Small orange or peach Baseball
Small sweet potato or baked potato Computer mouse

Here are some extra portioning tips:

  • Serve your meal on salad plates. Your plate will look more full than if you use a dinner plate.
  • Store snack foods in tiny sandwich bags so you are sure you are eating no more than one portion.
  • When dining out, if possible, ask for a kid’s meal or smaller size- not the supersize portion. I like to order from the appetizers or even to share with a friend when I know the portion size will be too much food.

Want to make portioning easy?  I’ve got it all measured out for you three meals a day plus a snack right in my 10-week Plan! You’ll eat delicious food and learn how to make it in just the right sizes. Join the thousands of others losing weight and getting fit with me here at AND you’ll be a part of my online community and can post your own question for Ask Denise. Join the conversation today. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Have a great week!

Love always from Your Personal Trainer,


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