Portion Control

Portion control is one of those terms that seems always tossed around, but no one really knows what is meant by it. When someone throws the term "portion" out there, the person asking the question is then faced with a multitude of questions:

  • "How much is a portion?"
  • "Is a portion size different for everyone?"
  • "Do I eat different portion sizes if I'm trying to lose weight?"
  • Do I eat the same portions if I'm trying to maintain my weight?"
  • "How much fat should I eat?"
  • "How much protein?"

And on and on it goes until we are lost in a maze of questions, trying to find our way through it.


The portion sizes here for these examples are broken down into what we refer to as 3 main macronutrients:

  1. proteins
  2. dense starchy carbohydrates and fibrous carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables)
  3. fats

The challenge for most people is that they're not eating enough. If you're one of those people who don't want to be tapping your food into your phone ap all day long (I'm actually a big fan of these, I like seeing the food I eat add up to the grand total of caloric intake and I certainly don't mind taking the time to add it into the ap), then portion control is your next best option. If I'm being honest, then I have to tell you that counting calories is not exactly an exact measure. You can never really guess how many calories you're consuming. At best the whole thing is a "guestimate".

Your measuring tool is always "handy" and it's specific to you, your body type and your intake. The truth is that portions are pretty much the same for everyone, but different. Hmmm...how can this be?

Well, here is your answer. While I still feel it beneficial to write everything down that you eat, it's become clear to me that some people have a hard time warming up to the idea of recording everything they eat. I was once one of those people! I'm now an advocate of record, record record!

However, if you are the non-committal type and at the moment want nothing doing with the record portion, and you want to do SOMETHING to feel responsible for your health, there's still hope! You can still at least count your portions. All you have to do is use your hands to eat! HA!

Let's begin with ladies protein size portions first:

The portion size for women is the size and thickness of the palm of your hand. That's it. Plain and simple. It would be wonderful if the sources of meats that you choose from were lean cuts of chicken, beef and fish as these would constitute sources that you would choose from 75% - 80% of the time.


For males, it's two palms of protein the same size an thickness of their palms. Simple enough so far? Good.


For females a hand cupped size of starchy carbohydrates is sufficient (yes I know this is fruit in the picture - but imagine it's brown rice or sweet potatoes as well).


For males, it's two cupped handfuls.


For women the vegetables should equal out to the size and height of a fist.


For males the vegetables - you could've guessed it! Two fists the same size and height.


For females the fat portion is the same size as the length and width of one thumb.


For males it's two thumb sizes (I know - shocking - you could have guessed!)


So, in a nutshell you have the following summarization for male and females:

For men:

  • 2 palms of protein dense foods with each meal;
  • 2 fists of vegetables with each meal;
  • 2 cupped hands of carb dense foods if including extra carbs;
  • 2 entire thumbs of fat dense foods if including extra fats.

For women:

  • 1 palm of protein dense foods with each meal;
  • 1 fist of vegetables with each meal;
  • 1 cupped hand of carb dense foods if including extra carbs;
  • 1 entire thumb of fat dense foods if including extra fats.

Of course I expect you to choose from the best, unadulterated forms of all of these macronutrients (Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats). This simply means sticking as close to nature as possible!

If it falls from a tree, grows from the ground, roams or flies the earth, it's yours. If it does not, put it back.

Of course, just like any other form nutrition planning, this only serves as a starting point. I adjust my clients from here to match the goals they set forth and how the body adjusts.

So, now you have the general rules "handy". Now start by implementing it today!

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