A Guide to Food Portions

A Guide to Food Portions

When you first begin a wellness journey, it is super tempting to track your food. So many of us get out our apps and obsess over every little thing we put in our mouths. Was that chicken breast 4 ounces or 3? How many almonds are too many? Does 1/2 a chicken nugget off my kids' plate need to be counted?

While temporary tracking can be helpful in noticing food sensitivities or eating patterns, we don’t want to, and quite frankly can’t do it forever. After all, we don’t eat "30 grams of protein, 60 grams of carbs and 6 grams of fat".....we just eat lasagna. (And YUM, btw.)

This is why it’s most helpful to use a hand guide to get a handle on appropriate portion sizes. Hands are always with us (hopefully!), and they are relative to our body size, making them the perfect way to measure our food. 

Here’s how it works:

  • Protein: the size and thickness of your palm
  • Fats: the size and thickness of your thumb
  • Vegetables: the size and thickness of your fist
  • Carbs: the size of a cupped handful

A great starting point for women is to have one serving of each of these at every meal. Assuming you have 3 meals and one snack, you’ll end up with 4 portions of protein, fat, veggies and carbs throughout the day. 

The great thing about knowing this is that you can plan ahead. If you know your meal at dinner will have 3 handfuls of carbs, it may be best to have some fruit at breakfast and keep your snack and lunch carb-free. If you neglect to have veggies at breakfast, you can add a few extra handfuls of spinach in a smoothie or have an extra helping of salad at lunch. 

Hand portion guides also make it easy to tinker with your eating amounts when things are not working. Are you trying to gain weight? It may help to add a handful or two of carbs to your daily intake. Are you not losing as much as you’d hope? Try eliminating a thumb of fat.

Eating this way allows for flexibility and prevents the obsessive, often dangerous calorie obsessions to which we all tend to succumb.

If you're interested in your own customized guide, you can get yours HERE or find it in the main menu under Resources.

Customized guides are based on your:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Eating style and
  • Goals


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