How Well Do You Know Your Serving Sizes?

pastaAny nutritionist will tell you that in order to eat a healthy and balanced diet you have to watch the serving sizes of what you’re eating.  Serving sizes can be tricky, though.  Do you know what 3 ounces of steak looks like?  What about a tablespoon of dressing?  If you’re going to eat right and eat healthy then you need to know how much a serving is.  Here are some hacks to help you estimate your serving sizes.

Bread, Cereal, Rice and Pasta

Pasta may be one of the most difficult things ever to estimate.  You want to cook two servings and end up with pasta to feed a high school football team.  Well, 1 cup of dry pasta, spaghetti or cereal is about the size of a fist and 2 cups of cooked pasta is about the size of a full, outstretched hand.  1 cup of potatoes, rice or pasta can also be about the size of a tennis ball or an ice cream scoop.  1 serving of pancake is about the size of a compact disc and ½ cup of cooked rice is about a cupcake wrapper full.


You have to get in the veggies!  One cup of green salad is roughly the size of a baseball or fist while ½ cup of cooked broccoli is about the size of a light bulb.  1 baked potato should be the size of a fist and a serving of tomato juice is about a small Styrofoam cup full.


These can be tricky to envision, but using household items helps.  For example, a half cup of fresh fruit is about the size of 7 cotton balls and a medium sized apple or pear should be the size of a tennis ball.  1 cup of cut up fruit is about the size of your fist and ¼ cup of raisins will be about the size of a large egg.  15 grapes is one serving and that’s roughly the size of a light bulb.

Milk, Yogurt and Cheese

This group is good for you, but it’s easy to go overboard!  1 ounce of cheese is the size of a pair of dice or your thumb.  1 ½ ounces of cheese translates to the size of 3 dominoes or your index and middle fingers together.  1 cup of ice cream will be the size of a baseball.

Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs and Nuts

Again, this group is great for you but moderation is important.  2 tablespoons of peanut butter is the size of a ping pong ball.  1 teaspoon is the size of a fingertip and 1 tablespoon a thumb tip.  3 ounces of meat is the size of a deck of cards or cassette tape.  3 ounces of grilled fish is the size of a checkbook or bar of soap and 3 ounces of cooked chicken is a chicken leg, thigh or breast.

Fats, Oils and Sweets

This is where it’s easy to go crazy!  2 tablespoons of salad dressing is a ping pong ball and 1 teaspoon of butter or margarine is the size of stamp with about the thickness of your finger or thumb tip.  

Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Sidney SL Lam

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This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.