Everyday Visuals to Help Keep Your Portions Controlled

Registered Dietician

| 3 min read

A plate of spaghetti
Portion control is one of the most important keys to maintain your weight or help you lose weight. It is important for better health and helps give perspective. I always say that it is important to not only choose healthier and more nutritious food options, but to also keep your servings controlled and in the right amounts for your body. For example, I am 5’1″ and my husband is 5’11”, therefore I need to eat for a 5’1″ female not a 5’11” man.
Here are some photos of everyday household items in food-form to help you understand how your body reads one serving of these particular foods.

Computer Mouse

A computer mouse exemplifies a portion of a 1/2 cup of certain grains, such as cooked pasta, cooked rice or anything else you should keep to a half cup serving including, beans, corn, peas, potatoes, oatmeal, couscous, quinoa and more. Remember this half cup serving is how your body reads one serving. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you can only have a half cup, but again remember you should not overdo it.
Just some food for thought, most restaurants usually serve 3-4 cups of pasta at one time. So watch how much you are consuming.

2 Dominoes

I love cheese. It does offer some calcium and protein, but it also has fat, saturated fat and sodium. Hence why 1 ounce of cheese is one serving. 1 ounce of cheese can be estimated as two dominoes.


The diameter of a yo-yo is what a serving size of a cookie should be. Again this is how your body usually reads one serving. If you look below, to the CD, that is the size of most retail cookie from a bakery.


The diameter of a CD or DVD should be the size of a pancake or one ounce of lunch meat. This illustrates one serving.


The size of a checkbook shows 3 ounces of any species of fish that tends to be flat, such as whitefish or tilapia.

Deck of Cards

This is a more common visual that most people know. A deck of cards is a visual serving of three ounces of meat. This can be anything from steak to chicken or maybe even a tuna steak or salmon.
Most restaurants serve at least 6 ounces of meat, poultry or fish at one time, again just a little perspective.

Golf Ball

A golf ball is a good estimate of 2 tablespoons. This would be a serving size for salad dressing, peanut butter, hummus or anything else you are trying to measure as two tablespoons.


One die is a great estimate of one teaspoon. A teaspoon of margarine, butter or mayonnaise is considered a serving by your body.


A baseball is the serving size of one piece of round fruit or approximately 1 cup. Again this is one serving size is how your body reads a serving of fruit or raw vegetables. Therefore a grapefruit, for example, might be closing to two servings of fruit. This is okay, just be aware of how to count your servings accordingly.


A lightbulb is a half cup serving and how you can visualize one serving of cooked vegetables. You might be getting more than you think and with vegetables, this is a good thing.
Did any of these visuals surprise you? My recommendation is to also measure your food when you are at home with actual measuring cups and spoons. This will help you better estimate your portions at a restaurant or away from home or if you don’t have time to measure. How do you keep your portions controlled regularly?
Photo Credit: Christian Schnettelker, (feature photo), A Healthier Michigan (thumbnails)

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