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Portions | Cincinnati Children's



HealthWorks! Healthy Living Series: Portions
by The Center for Better Health and Nutrition/HealthWorks! at Cincinnati Children's

Shelley Kirk, PhD, RD, Director of HealthWorks!: "We need to eat right-sized portions to make sure we're eating the right amount of food. That means not too much and not too little. Portions vary, depending on your age, gender, how tall you are and how active you are.

There are spoons, cups and scales that can be used to determine exact portion sizes. But when these aren't available, or you just don't have the time, you can still estimate your portions.

Here are two easy methods:

The first is the "My Plate" portion method. Use plates no more than 9 inches around and have smaller plates for younger children. Fill half the plate with colorful produce that can include vegetables, fruit and/or a salad. Fill a quarter of the plate with lean protein food, such as meat, chicken or beans. And then fill the last quarter with grains, such as rice or pasta. We recommend at least half the grain choices be whole grains. Your meal can also include a 4 to 8-ounce serving of a reduced-fat dairy food. In our weight management clinic, the dietitian may recommend moving starchy vegetables, like potatoes and corn, to the grain group.

If still hungry after eating one plate of food, limit second helpings to vegetables and fruits. This means only have one serving of protein and grains and/or starchy vegetables.

The second approach is the hand method. Each person can use their own hand to estimate portion sizes. Two handfuls for vegetables, a fist for fruits and grains and/or starchy vegetables, and a palm for meats, and the top half of your thumb for fats and oils.

It doesn't matter what method you use to estimate right-sized portions. It's more important to make sure you don't eat too much or too little. Being watchful of portions will ensure you are eating the amount that's just right for you."

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The funding for these videos was in part provided by Master Han and the Han’s White Tiger Tae Kwon Do Annual Break-A-Thon. Thank you!

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