How to eat in appropriate portion sizes

Author: Mary Donkersloot, RDN

When a patient comes into my office wanting to lose weight, the first thing I ask them is what they think they need to change about their diet.  Almost always, they tell me they eat too much.  

It may take some practice to become a better judge of serving sizes and portions, but the more you practice the more control you have over how much food you eat, which is the key to weight control.

The new MyPlate image shows us visually that our plate should contain:

  • ½ vegetables
  • ¼ grain (preferably whole grain): 
         - The grain can be ½ to 1 cup, depending on your calorie need.  That’s the size of a tennis ball or a baseball. 
  • ¼ protein
         - The protein can be 3-6 ounces, or about the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand.

That formula can help create the optimal balance of protein and smart, high-fiber carbohydrates, and limited starchy carbohydrates like pasta, rice or bread.

TIP: Try to add more vegetables to a meal.  Start with a vegetable soup or a salad. Make sure your entrée is served with double vegetables, rather than double pasta or rice. The vegetables will make you feel full with fewer calories, the natural way to find your stopping place. 

More about the author:

Mary Donkersloot, RDN:

A recognized authority on nutrition and consultant for individuals dealing with weight management issues by helping them with portion control, and guidance on quick and healthy eating at home and on the go.