Week 4: Practicing and Picturing Portions

Practice and Picture Portions

You’ve been practicing the 2/3 – 1/3 proportion principle to put more cancer-protective plant foods on your plate. Now you’ll be practicing portions:

  • Serving right size portions is key to eating for a healthy weight
  • Practicing portions at home helps you choose healthy amounts when eating away from home
  • Using visual cues

Conquer this Challenge: Measure and  Visualize

Practice and picture portions using these four easy steps:

1. Read the AICR Portions on Your Plate guide to learn the portions for various foods and beverages.

2. Portion foods using measuring cups, spoons and a food scale. Place them on your lunch and dinner plates to see what half a cup of brown rice or a 3-ounce portion of fish looks like.

3. Associate portions sizes with common objects. These can be a baseball and deck of cards. For example, 1/2 cup cooked pasta looks like half a baseball and a 3-ounce portion of cooked chicken is similar in size to a deck of playing cards.

4. Take a mental snapshot. Eventually you won’t need to measure all the time because you can remember how they look on your plate. You’ll be able to estimate how many portions there are in foods you eat away from home. The number of portions in a restaurant serving may surprise you.


This Week’s Stretch – Work Those Shoulders!

This Week’s Workout – 6-minute Toning with the Austins!

Dig Deeper

How many portions are right for you?

Now that you have portions down, learn about the suggested number of portions or amounts of foods to eat to get to and stay at a healthy weight.

Food 1 Portion Amount
 Cooked non-starchy vegetables (such as broccoli, carrots, greens) 1 cup 1 1/2- 2 portions daily
  Fruit 1/2 cup  3 – 4 portions daily (Limit 100% fruit juice to ½ cup daily)
 Starchy vegetables (corn, potatoes, peas) and whole grains (bread, rice, pasta): 1/2 cup Women: 1-2 portions per meal
Men: 2-3 portions per meal
 Cooked beans, such as kidney, chickpea or lentils 1/2 cup 1 portion at least 2 times per week (more if vegetarian)
 Nuts 1/4 cup 1/2 – 1 portion per day
 Poultry, seafood, meat, cooked 3 ounces cooked  Women: about 2 portions daily
Men: 2 – 2 1/2 portions daily
 Healthy oils (olive, canola etc) 1 teaspoon  Women: 5-6 portions daily
Men: 6-7 portions daily

**Amounts based on 2015 US Dietary Guidelines, using daily calorie range of 1600 to 2200.

Meal Prep! Make nutritious meals for home and away from home quickly and easily!
NAPC Cooking:  Check out the NAP Challenge Cooking Resources page. Watch videos to learn about mise en place and other meal prep tips.

Portion Tips:

Put proportion and portions on your plates. Fill your plates two-thirds or more with plant foods and one-third or less with animal foods and with portions for a healthier you.

Good luck practicing and picturing portions and with the New American Plate Challenge – where your weekly challenges become lifelong healthy habits!

Learn more about our Mindful and Intuitive Eating Discussion for this week: 2. Honor Your Hunger 

4 thoughts on “Week 4: Practicing and Picturing Portions”

    1. Hi Isaia,

      Are you asking about the portion size of milk? One serving of milk or milk alternative (soy, almond, cashew, etc) is 8 ounces. We will spend a full week discussing calcium sources and how to include at least 2 serving of high calcium foods either from low-fat dairy, milk alternatives or plant-based calcium sources.

  1. My choice is a plant-based alternative for a calcium source that has no sugar, or anything added that is not healthy. In the past I have chosen soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, … I have never been fond of cow’s milk. I love yogurt, so sometimes I choose yogurt for the calcium source, but again I look for one that is all natural, no added sugar, and possibly low-fat or fat-free. I love to top a dish of yogurt with fresh fruit, a few nuts…I have also tried Greek yogurt and there is a brand I love,…

  2. These small changes each week have given me a positive mindset. More fruit and veggies and being mindful of what I put on my plate. Tried quinoa.

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