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A Handy Guide to Healthy Portions

A Handy Guide to Healthy Portions

At Omada, we like to use our hands to estimate serving sizes. Yes, it’s less accurate than using a food scale or measuring cups, but comes pretty close — and you can’t beat it for convenience.

Refer back to this guide often as you build healthy meals and snacks. Before you know it, you’ll have it memorized.


Leafy Greens / Salad

1 serving = 2 cups or about 2 big handfuls
Load up on leafy greens to get more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Make a habit of always having a side salad before meals, or even better turn your whole meal into an entree salad. Simply drizzle some olive oil + vinegar for a quick ‘n healthy dressing.

 

Non-Starchy Vegetables

1 serving = 1 cup or about the size of your fist
Veggies are full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and water which means they’re nutritious and satisfying. At meal times, load up at least half of your plate/bowl with veggies first. The more the better!

 

Starchy Vegetables

1 serving = 1/2 cup or about 1 cupped handful
Starchy veggies like corn, potatoes, peas, and butternut squash pack many more calories into each bite, which is why the portion is lower than non-starchy types.

 

Fruit

1 serving = 1 cup or about the size of your fist
Fruit makes for an awesome accompaniment to your breakfast (think berries + plain Greek yogurt or banana slices + oatmeal + cinnamon) or as a healthy dessert after a meal, should your sweet tooth kick in.

 

Lean Protein

1 serving = 3-4 ounces or about the the size of your palm
Aim to get some lean protein in at each meal for greater satisfaction. Protein can come from animal sources (ie fish, turkey, eggs, yogurt, skinless chicken, lean beef) and/or plant sources (ie tofu, black beans, tempeh, lentils).

 

Cooking Oil

1 serving = 1 Tbsp or about the top of your thumb (from the knuckle, up)
To keep it as simple as possible, find a cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil that you like and make that your go-to for all of your dressing, drizzling, sautéing, and roasting needs. If you’re up for trying something new, avocado oil is a great choice, too.

 

Butter

1 serving = 1 tsp or about the tip of your index finger
Though we prefer butter over margarine (heavily processed, often contains trans fats), butter should still be used sparingly. For high heat cooking, try out clarified butter or ghee.

 

Whole Grains

1 serving = ⅓ cup cooked whole grains or a cupped handful
We all are likely used to much larger servings of grains due to takeout container sizes and restaurant portions, so be sure to check out what a ⅓ cup holds the next time you have cooked brown rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, bulgar, or other cooked grain. Some whole grains, like oatmeal and bulgar are ½ cup for one serving.

 

Whole Grain Bread

1 serving = 1 small slice or about the size of your palm, plus your thumb
A serving of bread is one slice, so consider having an open-faced sandwich or avocado toast rather than a typical sammie with 2 slices.

 

Nuts & Seed

1 serving = 2 ounces or about the size of two thumbs
Buying your own bulk bags of the nuts/seeds and then pre-packaging them into single-serving containers not only helps keep the portion under control, but it saves money, allows you to choose nuts/seeds without added sugars or oils, and gets them ready to grab’n’go for when you need a snack in a flash. Not to mention they are easy to travel with and can be stored for long periods of time.

 

Nut Butter

1 serving = 2 Tbsp or about the size of 1 thumb
Enjoy peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter or any other nut butter you’d like to try. Just ensure it’s made of only nuts (and salt if you like!). Pairing nut butter with a whole fruit or veggie sticks makes a quick nutrient-dense healthy fat + fibrous snack.

 

Cheese

1 serving = 1 ounce or about the size of 2 fingers
Leaner choices include mozzarella, feta, ricotta, goat, and Parmesan.But there’s always a time and a place for cheddar, brie, gouda, blue cheese, and your other favorites.

 

Cottage Cheese

1 serving = ½ cup or a cupped handful
Cottage cheese is an awesome lean protein choice. Beware of fat-free varieties having “fillers” and lots of preservatives added to it. Instead, opt for low-fat or full fat and look for one with simple ingredients: milk, cream, salt and cultures.

 

Yogurt 

1 serving = 1 cup or about the size of your fist
Take a look at the ingredients list on the yogurt you buy, if it’s flavored, there’s going to be a sweetener added. Choose plain to achieve just 2 ingredients: milk/cream & cultures. Opting for Greek, Icelandic, or Australian-style yogurt will give you double to triple the protein compared to traditional yogurts.

 
 
Milk

1 serving = 1 cup or about the size of your fist
There are pros and cons to all types of milk – cow’s milk, soy, almond, coconut, oat, etc.The goal is to choose “unsweetened” and to find one with the fewest ingredients. The main perk of cow’s milk and soy milk is the higher protein content vs. very low, if any, protein found in other milk alternatives.


 
  
Beans / Legumes

1 serving = 1 cup cooked or about the size of your fist
Black beans, pinto, kidney, chickpeas, lentils, white beans, navy beans, lima beans…this is a long list! Have a “meatless” Monday and opt for beans for a plant-based protein punch and reap the other benefits (high in fiber, iron, and other vitamins and minerals), too.