Tip #7


Get Handy.  Please don’t over complicate portions. You have the best measuring units

within your grasp...yes, your hands. When you want to devise a lean meal take this

“handy” approach:

  • 1 fist of vegetables with each meal;
  • 1 cupped hand of carb-dense foods with most meals;
  • 1 palm of protein-dense foods with each meal;
  • 1 entire thumb of fat-dense foods with most meals.

Here is a quick portion reference list of popular foods:

  • 1 cup of cereal = a baseball or your fist.
  • 1 cup Cheerios has about a 110 calories.
  • 3 Oz Beef = a bar of soap There are roughly 200 calories in a Serving of Steak, and most restaurants are serving a much larger portion than a "bar of soap". Also be sure to ask if the steak has been marinated in oils or ingredients that add unwanted calories, or has other hidden additives that may cause food sensitivities.
  • 1 tsp. of Butter = a Scrabble tile. Usually a Tablespoon of butter is used at about 100 calories.  It's virtually all fat. Better alternatives to butter are olive oil or avocado.
  • 1 serving of a small apple = a baseball.  A Granny Smith apple has 80 calories.
  • 1 Potato = a computer mouse. A potato only has 100 calories. It's the stuff you put on the potato that skyrockets the calories.
  • 2 Tbsp.  peanut butter = golf ball. Most peanut butter labels have 2 Tbsp. as a serving, which is 200 calories. You can make a delicious sandwich with just 1 Tablespoon.
  • 1/2 Cup Cooked Pasta = a golf ball. There are roughly 200 calories in a full cup of pasta (2 golf balls).
  • 2 Tbsp. of salad dressing = a shot glass. Most salads in restaurants have 2 LADLES of dressing on them; 2 Tbsp. is a relatively small amount and will average about 240 calories. Adding lemon, mustard, or something like balsamic vinegar can make your salad "moist" without adding extra fat and calories.
  • 1 oz. Nuts = a cupped palm. For example, an ounce of Cashews has 163 calories. But be careful, they're so good it's hard to stop at a "cupped palm", so remember to put them away after you take out your proper portion.
  • 1 oz. Cheese = a ping-pong ball. An ounce of Cheddar has about 110 calories.
  • Bread ( 1 oz) = CD case
  • 3 oz. Hamburger Patty = a mayonnaise jar lid. To get a good idea of how big that lid is, move your fingers into a "grab and open a lid" position. It's a full one ounce smaller than a quarter pounder. Some higher-end restaurants serve 1/2 pound hamburgers.
  • 1 serving Popcorn = 1 baseball.
  • 1/2 Cup Rice = an ice cream scoop. A 1/2 cup of white rice has about 205 calories, and if you're in a restaurant it's easy to have at least 3 servings. Just put one "ice cream scoop" on your plate.
  • 1 Dinner Roll = a yo-yo. A dinner roll has about 66 calories. Unfortunately, it's hard to stop at one when a basket of 6 arrives at your table.
  • 3 oz. Fish = a checkbook. A serving of cooked salmon has about 175 calories.

— Jaime Brenkus Health Tip 7