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Portion Control

Are you confused about portion sizes?

Many Canadians are confused about portion sizes. Food portions have grown larger over the decade, which has directly contributed to growing waistlines and obesity. Meals in many fast-food and fine-dining restaurants have increased in portion size and exceed what our body needs. So, what makes an actual serving size of meat, fruit or pasta? Below are examples of Food Guide servings and handy tips to help you picture what a serving size actually looks like.

Here are some examples of a food guide serving.

Vegetables and Fruit

  • 125ml (½ cup) fresh, frozen or canned vegetables
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) of dried fruit
  • 125ml (½ cup) of 100% juice
  • 1 fruit/125ml of fresh, frozen or canned fruit

Grain Products

  • 1 slice of bread
  • ½ of a bagel
  • 125ml (½ cup) of cooked rice or bulgur
  • 125ml (½ cup) of cooked pasta or couscous
  • ¾ cup of hot cereal
  • 30 grams of cold cereal

Milk and Alternatives

  • 250ml (1 cup) of milk/fortified soy beverage
  • 125ml (½ cup) of canned milk
  • 175g (¾ cup) yogurt
  • 50g (1½ ounces) of cheese

Meat and Alternatives

  • 75g (2½ ounces) of cooked fish poultry, lean meat or shellfish
  • 150g (¾ cup) of tofu
  • 2 eggs
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) of peanut/nut butter
  • 60ml (¼ cup) of nuts or seeds

Words that may indicate large food portions

  • Combo
  • Deluxe
  • Value Meal
  • Supreme
  • All you can eat
  • Supersize
  • Jumbo
  • Ultimate
  • King-size

Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide

Portion Distortion: An Easy Reference to Portion Sizes

Vegetables and Fruit

  • 1 medium sized piece = size of a tennis ball
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) fresh, frozen or canned = size of a light bulb or cupped hand
  • 1 cup (250ml) salad = size of a fist

Grain Products

  • 1/2 bagel (45g) = hockey puck
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) cooked pasta or rice = Cupped hand or light bulb
  • 1 waffle or pancake = compact disc (CD)

Milk and Alternatives

  • 1 cup (250ml)milk = use a measuring cup
  • 3/4 cup (175g) yogurt = small, single serve container
  • 2 oz (50g) hard cheese or 2 processed cheese slices = 2 thumbs

Meat and Alternatives

  • 2 tbsp (30ml) peanut butter =size of a golf ball
  • 2-4 oz (50-100g) of meat, poultry or fish = deck of cards or computer mouse
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) beans or lentils = 1/2 cup (125 ml) beans or lentils

Use common objects to determine portion sizing.

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