Eating for Health Portion Size Guide

Whether you want to lose weight or just eat healthy, keeping track of how much you eat is essential for positive dietary choices. Use this guide to help you figure out how many servings to put on your plate and how to keep yourself on track towards your health goals. Remember, moderation is the key!


1/2 Plate Vegetables

Fill up your plate with raw or lightly cooked vegetables for a crunchy, taste-filled experience! Remember to include many different colors and types (cabbage family, root veggies, etc.) for a full array of nutrients.

1/4 Plate Lean Protein

3 ounces of lean protein (baked, broiled, or grilled) will help you to stay satiated, sustain your energy throughout the day, and protect your heart and waistline. Remember, twice as many vegetables as protein for an Eating for Health diet!

1/4 Plate Healthy Starches

Whole grains, like brown rice, contain fiber to give you long-lasting energy, and B-vitamins to protect your heart. Try yams, potatoes, and squash! While considered vegetables, they have high starch content and should be placed on this part of the plate. The more colorful your starch, the better!

Portion Control Tips

  1. Chew your food slowly and savor each bite. Learn to enjoy the food you’re eating.
  2. Wait 15 minutes before getting a second helping of food. This gives your body time to register that food has been eaten and to tell you that it’s full.
  3. Have an apple, small leafy salad (watch the dressing), or cup of broth 15 minutes before mealtime to induce fullness faster and prevent you from overeating during the meal.
  4. Put all food away right after a meal is cooked or served. If you really want seconds, you can make the extra effort to get it all back out again.
  5. Leave some food on your plate. Most people decide whether or not they are “full” based on the amount of food on their plates and overeat accordingly. Learn to listen to your body by intentionally leaving behind a little bit of food at each meal and eventually learn to take less overall.
By Jessica Bauman, B.S., – Affordable Nutrition, 2010 (Adapted from an article by Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, Director of Nutrition for