Portion Size Chart -
A Secret to Weight Loss

I like this simple Portion Size Chart. All you need is your hand - it works for everyone and is super easy to remember.

Knowing your portion size will transform your eating and your weight loss. When you're eating appropriate food portion sizes, you can eat almost anything and still lose weight and keep it off.

Anyone can try to eat smaller portions, but how do you really stick with it? That's easy, and you've probably heard it a million times.

Here's the secret - eat smaller meals and snacks in between. Find out how it can work for you . . .

Meat - Portion Size Chart

Food Portion Size for Meat



The palm of your hand.

Your meat portions should be approximately the size of your palm. Think of a hamburger patty; that's about the right size.

Steak, chicken, fish can all be about this size. (We wouldn't normally need a huge steak or half chicken.)

Lunch meat - imagine it stacked together about palm-sized.

Very thin filets - again, imagine it stacked together to the thickness of your palm.




Bread - Portion Size Chart

Food Portion Size for Breads and other Carbs


Your flat hand.

Your bread portions should be approximately the size of your flat hand. Think of a slice of bread or one whole hamburger bun.

According to this measurement, most of us wouldn't need 2 slices of bread for one serving. A half sandwich may be more appropriate. However, I admit I often have a whole sandwich.

Pizza - we're probably looking at one slice. That may be a big change for you. But if you're eating a vegetable with your pizza (or have vegetable toppings on it), you'll feel satisfied. And you can eat again 2 hours later.



Grains, Vegetables and Fruits - Portion Size Chart

Food Portion Size for Vegetables, Rice, Pasta, Fruits

Your fist.

Your vegetable, fruit, pasta and rice portions should be approximately the size of your fist. Isn't this easy?

Imagine a nice scoop of food with a big serving spoon. And you can see that small children (in general - use good judgment) don't need mom and dad-sized servings.

This works for many foods that are naturally a grouping of small, loose things - or for something that is diced up. Shredded meat (like a bbq sandwich or chicken salad) can easily be measured to the size of your closed hand.

The "Fist" measurement can also be used for whole fruits, like an apple.


Note - vegetables served in a healthy way can be MORE than a fist size. In fact, many "portion control plates" will show half the plate being dedicated to vegetables.


Fat - Portion Size Chart

Food Portion Size for Fats


Your fingertip.

Fats like butter should be approximately the size of your fingertip. That's easy to picture, but olive oil is a little harder. I'd imagine a teaspoon size of oil.

This is really small, don't you think?! I have to admit, I'm sure our family is normally eating more than a fingertip of butter or cheese for a serving. This is a great reason to make sure you're burning off extra calories by exercising.

Limit your fat and choose better fats, like olive oil (or fats that are liquid at room temperature).




Snacks - This is what makes it work.

Approximately 200 calories.

I stay far away from counting calories, except for snacks.

When you're eating meals with good food portions, you can and need to snack. This is the key to eating appropriate food portions and feeling satisfied. You need to snack.

When you're out and need to grab a snack, it's pretty easy to research calories of snack foods. Most candy bars are just a bit over 200 calories. Sometimes I eat part of it, sometimes all of it.

When you're home and can eat "real" food, it's much harder to know what the calories are. Just eat a serving size in that case (a half sandwich or a chicken drumstick). When I eat yogurt with granola, I usually take half a serving size of yogurt because I'm adding the calories of the granola and honey.


Put it all together - Portion Size Chart

Sometimes at dinner, I quiz my kids about their food portion sizes and the different parts of a meal.

When you put the right food portion sizes together with snacks in between, you'll have a good plan for eating.

When filling your plate, give yourself a hand with a great portion size chart


Send in questions about Food Portion Size:

Do you have a food that you're not sure about the portion size? Send in your question (others are probably wondering, too!)

What Other Visitors Have Asked

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Popcorn Portions Not rated yet
What is the recommended portion size for popcorn? -That's a great question! You can have 12 cups of Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop popcorn (2 …

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