Secrets of Portion Control

A New American Diet


Eat and drink the right amount for you. Eat the right amount of calories for you based on your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level. Focus on variety, amount, and nutrition. The right mix can help you be healthier now and in the future. Choose foods and beverages with less saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars. Even some chicken dishes breaded or fried contribute too much fat to our diet. Fatty meats, cream, chicken skin, bacon, and some cheeses contain solid fat.

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An average-sized, active man probably needs 2,, calories. Keep a mental image of the right portion size by imagining everyday items like a baseball, CD, or a deck of cards. This way it's easy to recognize healthy portion sizes. The correct portion size for a potato is about the size of a computer mouse. That equals 1 cup of vegetables. But restaurant potatoes are likely to be much bigger and loaded with toppings that pile on the calories.

When dining out, eat half the potato, or opt for a healthier sweet potato loaded with vitamins A and C instead. One half-cup of pasta is about the size of half a baseball. That's 1 ounce of pasta grains. Be sure to count the number of pasta servings in the tally of grains for the day. Skip the bread if eating more than one serving of pasta. Choose tomato sauces instead of high-fat creamy sauces.

A 1-ounce portion of grains in a pancake or waffle is about the size of a CD. Replace the stack of pancakes with one pancake plus an egg, to get in one serving of grains and one of protein. Or choose whole-grain pancakes, like buckwheat or whole-wheat pancakes. Choose fresh fruit or sugar-free syrup for toppings.

Bagels and muffins may seem healthy, but they often contain two to three times the recommended portion size. Even a low-fat muffin can contain calories. Butter or cream cheese on top can add even more calories and fat. For a single 1-ounce serving of grains, that's about half a medium bagel, the size of a hockey puck. Save calories by switching the bagel for a high-fiber English muffin.

Stick to whole grain bagels, and have half of a large one. A single serving of cheese is about the size of four dice!

That's a 1-cup serving of dairy. It also has about 3 teaspoons of unhealthy solid fat. Try low-fat cheeses, or just nibble at a small piece of cheese. Reduce the amount of cheese on the pizza or ask for low-fat cheese. One portion of protein - meat or fish - is about the size of a deck of cards or the palm of the hand. For example, a handful of nuts, 3 ounces of meat, and one egg make up the recommended protein consumption for a day.

A 1-cup serving of fruit or veggies is about the size of a baseball or a fist. Try to consume a variety of colors -- greens, red, and orange.

Dark greens like spinach, kale, and broccoli are good for the heart. A golf ball is about the right size for a portion of peanut butter. That makes 2 tablespoons or two 1-ounce servings. While peanuts have healthy fats, that's still fat and a significant amount of calories. Two ounces of peanut butter have calories.

Two servings of rice two grain servings are about the size of a light bulb. Rice is low in calories and fat and makes a healthy main dish when served with vegetables like peppers, onions, bok choy, or carrots. Stir fry the vegetables in a bit of healthy canola or peanut oil. Brown rice has more fiber and is a healthier choice than white rice. Of course, it's possible to negate all the health benefits of rice if it's topped with fried foods or high-fat sauces.

One fat portion is just the size of a poker chip or a stack of four dimes. That is 1 teaspoon. Cutting out excess fat can bring down weight. People typically consume fats in products like salad dressings, nuts, meats, and cooking oil. When dining out, ask for a vinaigrette dressing on the side and spoon on just the amount needed instead of opting for a rich, creamy dressing. An ounce of chips — six large tortilla chips or about 20 potato chips -- has 2 teaspoons of oil fat and calories.

This 1-ounce portion can contain half the amount of fat a woman should consume in a day! Some chips may be better choices -- look for baked, multigrain, or vegetable chips. These may have less fat than traditional chips, but be sure to check the label.

Desserts are usually full of fat and sugar. A cup of ice cream two portion sizes can have calories and three-fourths of the daily fat intake for an inactive woman. Limit portion sizes when craving a sweet, and have some fruit or milk with one cookie instead of several cookies. The right mix can help you be healthier now and in the future. Eating healthy is a journey shaped by many factors, including our stage of life, situations, preferences, access to food, culture, traditions, and the personal decisions we make over time.

All your food and beverage choices count. MyPlate offers ideas and tips to help you create a healthier eating style that meets your individual needs and improves your health. All food and beverage choices matter — focus on variety, amount, and nutrition. Choose an eating style low in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars. Make small changes to create a healthier eating style. MyPlate What is MyPlate? Why Is It Important? Focus on variety, amount, and nutrition. Choose foods and beverages with less saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.

Start with small changes to build healthier eating styles. Support healthy eating for everyone. Build a Healthy Eating Style All food and beverage choices matter — focus on variety, amount, and nutrition. Eat the right amount of calories for you based on your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level.

Building a healthier eating style can help you avoid overweight and obesity and reduce your risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Use Nutrition Facts labels and ingredient lists to find amounts of saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars in the foods and beverages you choose.

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