Making Sense of Portion Sizes

Finding it hard to determine what a serving or portion size is? Below are some ways you can picture a serving or portion size using everyday objects.

(Note: hand and finger sizes vary from person to person! These are GUIDES only. At home, measure your fist size against the side of a one-cup measuring cup for a serving reference. Measure portions when you eat at home and guesstimate by hand size when you dine out).

The bread, cereal, rice, and pasta group

1 cup of potatoes, rice, pasta - is a medium-size fist
1 pancake or 1 slice of bread - is a compact disc (CD)
1/2 cup cooked rice - is 1/2 the size of a baseball

The vegetable and fruit group

1 cup cut up fruits or vegetables- a baseball or a fist size
1 serving of baked potato - 1/2 the size of a computer mouse
3/4 cup juice - a small Styrofoam cup

1/2 cup serving

1/4 cup raisins - is a large egg

The milk, yogurt, and cheese group

1-1/2 ounces of cheese - is a 9-volt battery or 3 dominoes
1 ounce of cheese - is a pair of dice or your thumb
1 cup of ice cream - is a large scoop the size of a baseball

The meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nut group

2 tablespoons of peanut butter - is a ping-pong ball
1 teaspoon of peanut butter - is a fingertip
1 tablespoon of peanut butter - is a thumb tip
3 ounces cooked meat, fish, poultry - is a palm, deck of cards, cassette tape
3 ounces grilled/baked fish - is a checkbook
3 ounces cooked chicken - is a small chicken leg and thigh or small breast

Fats, oils, and sweets

1 teaspoon butter, margarine - is the size of a stamp as thick as your finger or thumb tip
2 tablespoons salad dressing - is a ping-pong ball

Snack foods

1 ounce of nuts or small candies - is one small handful (about cup)
1 ounce of chips or pretzels - is two small handfuls

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional health information, please contact the Center for Consumer Health Information at the Cleveland Clinic (216) 444-3771 or toll-free (800) 223-2273 extension 43771. If you prefer, you may visit or This document was last reviewed on: 7/13/2016