Portion Size

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After you decide how many calories you need to eat per day and which foods you're going to eat, don't let super-sized portions ruin your good plans. Try to visualize the items below when you're planning a meal, ordering food out, or grabbing a snack.

For example, the USDA recommends you eat 3 to 4 ounces of meat, poultry, or fish as part of a healthy meal. That's about the size of a deck of cards. One study found that the typical portion size is at least twice as large, and some may be 8 times as large! Reducing your portion size is a good step toward a healthy diet, even if you don't get down to the suggested portion sizes listed here.

This portion size is as big as
1 ounce of poultry or meat a matchbox
3 ounces of poultry or meat (the recommended size for a meal) a deck of cards or a bar of soap
3 ounces of fish a checkbook
1 ounce of cheese four dice
A medium potato a computer mouse
2 tablespoons of peanut butter a ping pong ball
1 cup of pasta a tennis ball
A bagel a hockey puck

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