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How to Scale Down Your Portions

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A portion is the amount of food you put on your plate. Use these suggestions to keep portions in control and manage your weight.



A baseball or an average-sized fist equals about 1 cup and is a good portion of raw or cooked vegetables, whole fruit, low-fat dairy and cereal.

A fist next to a portion of broccoli

Two Fists

Aim for eating about 2 cups of fresh greens and 2 cups of other colorful vegetables daily — 2 cups is the size of your fists put together.

Tennis Ball

Tennis Ball

It’s very easy to overload your plate with pasta, rice and potatoes. Make your portion the size of a tennis ball or ½ cup.

Deck of Cards

Deck of Cards

Enjoy lean proteins in 3-ounce portions, which is about the same size as a deck of cards or the palm of your hand.

Thumbs up


Use your thumb to gauge a 1 tablespoon portion of peanut butter, sunflower butter other nut and seed spreads and healthy oils.

Postage stamps

Postage Stamp

Keep portions of added sugars to the size of a postage stamp.

Handful of almonds


Unsalted almonds and walnuts are a healthy snack. Keep them to a small handful of 10 – 20.

This content reviewed by Michelle MacDonald, MS, RDN, CDE, February 2020.