The month of June begins tomorrow and summer is officially in the air, which means bikini season is right around the corner ;). An easy way to shed a few excess pounds quickly is to familiarize yourself with appropriate portion sizes. As many of you know, restaurants in particular pride themselves on serving enormous portions, and even when you’re making healthy choices, you may be consuming excess calories. Remember you can always bring your left-overs home for lunch!! By understanding the average portion size of different foods, you can avoid overeating whether you’re cooking at home or eating out. The following are general estimates for a variety of foods:

  • Protein: one serving is no larger than the size of your palm, or 3 oz., 1 egg, 8 oz. or 1 cup dairy (milk/yogurt)
  • Starchy side dishes: the size of a tennis ball
  • Medium piece of fruit: tennis-ball size
  • Berries: ½ cup fresh or frozen
  • One ounce of cheese: pair of dice
  • Non-starchy Vegetables: 1 cup raw, one-half cup cooked
  • Dark leafy greens: 1 cup raw
  • Potato (sweet, red, baked) or yam: medium sized or 1 cup cooked, size of a computer mouse
  • Water: 6 to 8 8-oz. glasses per day
  • Beans and legumes: one-half cup cooked
  • Hummus: 1/4 cup
  • Whole grains: 1 slice whole-wheat bread, 1/2 cup cooked grains, oatmeal, cereal or pasta, 1 oz. ready-to-eat cereal
  • Healthy Fat (olive oil, flax oil, coconut oil, Udo’s oil, butter, flax seeds, chia seeds): 1 Tablespoon or tip of your thumb
  • Nuts: 1 oz. or 10 almonds, cashews or walnut halves
  • Wine: 5 oz. (or half the pour you think!)
  • Air popped popcorn: 1 cup
  • Whole-grain crackers: 4 Ak-Mak, 6 brown rice snaps

A few extra tips:

  • Invest in a scale to measure out protein ounces.
  • Use measuring cups for whole-grains, legumes and beans.
  • Fill-up on non-starchy vegetables. The more the merrier!!
  • Portion out your snacks, do not eat directly from the bag or box!
  • Read labels carefully for the recommended portion size.
  • Buy a portion control container kit to make it effortless. There’s a terrific one by Beach Body on Amazon.