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Eating Disorder Meal Plan Tips: How To Estimate Serving Sizes

Posted Mar 03 2013 5:09pm
Having the correct serving size on your plate for each eating disorder meal plan   exchange is important to assure that you meet your nutritional needs for your recovery. When you first start to follow a meal plan, it can be helpful to measure and weigh your food out to confirm that you are accurately following your meal plan. Doing this can also serve as a visual teaching tool so that you can eventually eyeball your portion sizes. Although you may want to continue to measure and weigh your food out the entire time you are on a meal plan, being so precise and rigid can be time consuming, inconvenient, and appear abnormal (especially in social situations). It is important for eating disorder recovery to eventually move into the mindset that "close enough is good enough." With some practice, eyeballing your serving sizes can actually be quite accurate.


The best way to successfully estimate portion sizes for your eating disorder meal plan is to compare serving sizes to tangible things. If you Google "tips for estimating serving sizes" (or a similar phrase), you will be provided with an abundance of items that look like portion sizes of specific foods. Although there are a lot of  helpful tips out there for estimating serving sizes, there are so many tips out there that it can be difficult to remember which specific item looks like what specific food and which particular serving size. For example, portion sizes are compared to things like a deck of cards, a check book, cotton balls, a tennis ball, dice, a chap stick tube, a light bulb, your thumb, a CD, a baseball, marbles, dominoes, a cassette tape, a ping pong call, etc. The tips are endless and it can be difficult and anxiety provoking to remember what item matches up with what serving size. 


The easiest thing to compare many of your portion sizes to is the palm of your hand. After all, you always have your hand with you. Many grain, fruit, vegetable, and 2-4 ounce protein servings look like the size of the palm of our hand (see pictures below). *If you cannot remember any other tip out there for estimating serving sizes, remember the palm of your hand tip.


**As we all know, palm sizes can differ from person to person. Therefore, if you believe that your hand is a bit smaller or larger than average, don't panic. This tip can still work for you! For example, if you notice when measuring and weighing your food that most serving sizes take up the space in the middle of your palm, then you should just use the middle of the palm of your hand (instead of the entire palm of your hand) as a guide for eyeballing your serving sizes.


PROTEINS:  2-4 OUNCE CHICKEN BREAST






PROTEINS: 2-4 OUNCE PORK CHOP






PROTEINS: 2-4 OUNCE HAMBURGER PATTY






PROTEINS: 2-4 OUNCES FISH






PROTEINS: 2-4 OUNCES BEANS (LEGUMES)





1 GRAIN SERVING: 1/2 HAMBURGER BUN










1 GRAIN SERVING: 1/2 CUP RICE










1 GRAIN SERVING: 1/2 CUP PASTA










1 GRAIN SERVING: 1/2 CUP MASHED POTATOES










1 GRAIN SERVING: 1/2 CUP FRENCH FRIES









1 FRUIT SERVING: 1/2 GRAPEFRUIT









1 FRUIT SERVING: 1 PEACH






1 VEGETABLE SERVING: 1/2 CUP GREEN BEANS










1 VEGETABLE SERVING: 1/2 CUP CORN










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