Health Library

Reviewed 8/24/2022

Enough to eat: How to visualize a serving.

One of the easiest ways to cut back on calories is to eat smaller portions of food. But how do you know a reasonable portion when to see it.

Apple/orange. A serving of an apple or orange is the size of a tennis ball.

Bagel. A serving of a bagel is the size of a hockey puck.

Baked potato. A serving of a baked potato is the size of a computer mouse.

Cheese. A serving of cheese (1 ½ ounces) is the size of a 9-volt battery.

Chips/pretzels. A serving of chips or pretzels (1/2 cup) is the size of a tennis ball.

Cooked rice/pasta. A serving of cooked rice or pasta (1/2 cup) is the size of a tennis ball.

Dried fruit/nuts. A serving of dried fruit or nuts (1/4 cup) is the size of a golf ball.

Dry cereal. A serving of dry cereal (1 cup) is the size of a baseball.

Fish. A serving of fish (3 ounces) is the size of a checkbook.

Ice cream. A serving of ice cream (1/2 cup) is the size of a tennis ball.

Margarine: A serving of margarine (1 teaspoon) is the size of a postage stamp.

Meat: A serving of meat (3 ounces) is the size of a deck of cards.

Pancake/waffle: A serving size of a pancake or waffle is the size of a compact disc.

Peanut butter: A serving of peanut butter (2 tablespoons) is the size of a ping pong ball.

Salad greens/chopped vegetables: A serving of salad greens or chopped vegetables (1 cup) is the size of a baseball.

Control your portions. Try these tips to help prevent overeating:

Don't eat from the bag.

Portion out serving sizes into small bags or bowls.

Serve food on small plates.

Keep serving dishes off the dinner table.

Eat at the table, and focus on your food.

Order appetizers rather than entrees.

Order the small size at fast-food restaurants.

For help controlling how much you eat, talk to a doctor or a dietician.

Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institutes of Health


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This information is provided for educational purposes only. Individuals should always consult with their healthcare providers regarding medical care or treatment, as recommendations, services or resources are not a substitute for the advice or recommendation of an individual's physician or healthcare provider. Services or treatment options may not be covered under an individual's particular health plan.