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A “Handy” Approach to Serving Size Estimation

Yiwen Lu, MS, RD
February 11, 2024
February 12, 2024

Want to eat healthier? Let’s follow the MyPlate! This model suggests: half the plate for vegetables, a quarter for carbs, and a quarter for protein (on a 9-inch plate). But wait, foods come in different shapes, sizes, and weights. How do I quantify them? What if I am eating out or not using a 9-inch plate?

Well, let me introduce you to the concept of a “serving.” The American Heart Association has established standard recommended portions for the following food groups: vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, low-fat or fat-free dairy, and fats and oils. Stick around, and I'll share daily suggested servings (on a 2,000 calories diet), offer examples for one serving, provide tips on estimating portions using your hand, and give some top tips.

Keep in mind, your needs might not align exactly with 2,000 calories, so please use this as a guide and chat with your Care Team so you know exactly how much you need from each food group.

More On The Hand Guide

I hope this guide gives you a good sense of how much to eat from each food group daily for a healthier lifestyle. While your hand might not be the most precise measuring tool, it's certainly 'handy' (pun intended) for estimating portions and making smarter choices, especially when eating out.


Now that you have a better understanding of how your hand can assist in estimating portion sizes, use it during your next video chat with your Care Team. Describing your food portions using your hand will allow them to grasp your meal portions more accurately and tailor a meal plan that perfectly aligns with your lifestyle!

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