What Is The Proper Portion Sizes For Adults? How Much Should I Eat?

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Portion size is something that I didn’t care about before, let alone the proper portion sizes of different food.

But after doing the 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge, I realized and found out that portion size is very important.

So, I started researching and reading more about the topic and the results I found were shocking!

It confirmed my husband’s accusation: that I was eating WAY MORE THAN the proper portion sizes and MORE THAN what he consumes!

It’s really not an accusation because I already knew before that it was the truth. But I just don’t want to accept it!

I played “innocent until proven guilty”, and the irony of it all: I was the one who found out about my own guilt (through more readings)!

The Proper Portion Sizes For Adults

So, I started to dig deeper into the proper portion sizes of food and I want to share it here with you in the hope that it can also help you if you are experiencing the same “portion size issue” like me.

Healthline has written a rough guide for each meal using your plate as a portion guide:

  • Half a plate – vegetables or salad
  • Quarter of a plate – high-quality protein (from meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, tofu, beans and pulses)
  • Quarter of a plate – complex carbs (such as whole grains and starchy vegetables)
  • Half a tablespoon (7 grams) – high-fat foods (including cheese, oils, and butter)

Using your hands as a serving guide is another method of identifying the proper portion sizes. Here’s another rough guide from healthline:

  • A palm-sized serving for women and two palm-sized portions for men – High-protein foods such as meat, fish, poultry, and beans
  • A fist-sized portion for women and two fist-sized portions for men – vegetables and salads
  • One cupped-hand portion for women and two for men – high-carb foods such as whole grains and starchy vegetables
  • One thumb-sized portion for women and two for men – high-fat foods such as butter, oils, and nuts

Proper Portion Sizes Charts And Printables

I gathered some proper portion sizes charts and printables from different sources for a visual and easier learning experience.

Here’s a recommended portion sizes chart from I Value Food:

Portion size chart from I Value Food.

And here’s a portion control guide from WebMD.

portion size guide 1 from WebMD
portion size guide 2 from portion size guide 1 from WebMD

You can download the printable pdf here, print it, and pin it into your refrigerator door, so you can be guided and reminded everyday.

My Portion Sizes Before

My portion sizes before I started the 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge were HUGEEEEE!

How did I realize it? Because during the challenge, there was recommended weight or measurement especially for protein and vegetable intake.

For example, salmon is 125 grams. So in the first few days, I weighed mostly my protein consumption to have a visual idea of how small or big the portion is.

Then I realized how small is 125 grams. Then vegetables are 2-3 cups (and it’s ok to eat more of them if still hungry).

I am supposed to eat only a slice, but before I ate like 2 slices of salmon or more that were obviously bigger than 125 grams.

My portion sizes before
My portion sizes before doing the 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge look like these, more or less.

The same thing with chicken and meat, the recommended is about 85 grams, but my portion before was like 2-4 times bigger, depending on the occasion. WHOAAA!

As I was reading more about portion sizes, I learned that the suggested portion size for rice is half a cup, but everytime I eat rice, I consume 2-4 cups depending on how nice is the main dish! The more delicious it is, the more rice I consume!

I also found out that the recommended portion size for pasta is 1/2 a cup! But all my life, I have been eating an “ENTIRE PLATE” of pasta.

And most of the time, I go for a 2nd serving of half or quarter of a plate! That’s like 5-7 times more than the recommended portion size! How insane!

The same goes with potatoes. The recommended portion size is a small piece a size of a computer mouse, but I consume like 2-3 big pieces of potatoes!

With fruits, you can eat 1 or 2 fruits as a dessert or snacks, but I eat tangerines like crazy! I can eat 10 or more in one sitting! Imagine all the sugar! And that is only one example.

Too Many Carbs And Sugar

I also consume way too many carbs and sugar!

Though we use our own raw honey instead of sugar, I just realized after doing the 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge that we use them excessively!

Before doing the challenge, I always had the idea that we are eating healthy, more or less.

Though it is true to some extent, I realized that I was consuming WAY MORE carbs and sugar than recommended.

Here’s an example: In the morning I make a cup of eko (toasted cereals that resembles coffee) with a heaping teaspoon of honey. Then a huge bowl of oatmeal with yogurt and another heaping teaspoon or two of honey.

After lunch, I make a dessert of homemade yogurt with a heaping teaspoon or two of honey or our homemade lemon marmalade.

Then another round of yogurt with honey or marmalade as a dessert after dinner. Some other days, we make cheese with honey.

Though honey is healthier than sugar, we are definitely using it excessively!

My Portion Sizes Now

My portion sizes now are completely different from before.

Thank you for Avocadu’s 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge because it’s really an eye-opener to me.

I am a vegetable eater since then, but I eat even more vegetables now.

My Portion Sizes Now
Some photos of my plates during the 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge with the proper portion sizes, more or less.

It occupies half of my plate now, then a proper portion size of protein cooked in a healthy fat source (coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil).

I also learned to refrain from foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates and sugar.

These two are not very good for our health and I found out that these are what’s making me gain weight fast!

Final Thoughts

Portion sizes of food are something that I just didn’t give any attention to before. But I am glad that the 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge made me realized its importance.

I just realized that there is still a lot of changes to be done to what I believe is “healthy eating” in our household. We are not yet into “healthy eating” after all.

This is the reason why I want to dig deeper into healthy eating, to learn more, and to be more aware.

Healthy eating is not about food restrictions. It is about the freedom of eating anything we like, but in MODERATION.

MODERATION by observing the proper portion sizes is really the key!

How about you? Are you already practicing healthy eating at home? Or you are also in the beginning stage of eating healthy just like me and my family?

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.

P.S.

Avocadu 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge

Maybe you are wondering or a bit annoyed because I keep on mentioning the 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge.

I just can’t help from raving about it, because this is the program that made me lose 9.6 lbs (4.5 kg) and 1.5 inches in just a matter of 3 weeks.

And that is without taking or drinking any slimming pills or juices, and without exercising like crazy, but just through healthy eating. You can read about my personal experience here.


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10 thoughts on “What Is The Proper Portion Sizes For Adults? How Much Should I Eat?”

  1. I have been told about the “clenched fist” several times in my life. On occasions when a dear friend reminds me about it, I just waive my clenched fist at her and shout “Leave me alone!” LOL. But the truth is that all that indicates is about the size of a cup. To me that’s starvation. But apparently, that’s healthy.

    Reply
    • Reminds me of my attitude everytime my husband tells me that I ate a lot! I get angry everytime, but after the fat loss challenge, I realized that i was being stubborn by being told the truth!

      Reply
  2. Thank you so much for this awesome post on portion sizes.  This is something that I need to learn a lot from because I am overweight, and I am in the military, so I need to lose some of this weight to maintain good standing.  My hardest thing, though, is more about eat salty foods, like chips, which technically isn’t part of this portion size thing.  So I guess I would also have an issue with not eating enough veggies, though I substitute them with fruit.  Is that okay?

    Reply
    • Hello Jessie,

      Thanks for dropping by. I wish you success in your weight loss desire to maintain good standing in the military. Even if it’s not on the portion char, but salty foods especially chips is something that we have to avoid. And it’s better to eat more veggies than more fruits because fruits contain a lot of sugar. 1-2 fruits a day is ok, but more is not good especially if you are trying to lose weight.

      Reply
  3. Hi Julai
    Thanks for sharing your views on the proper portion sizes for adults. If you manage to serving in our plate we can definitely go forward to reduce weight and manage healthy food habit. You are very excited about Avocadu’s 21-day fat loss challenge .I would definitely like to give it a try .I think we need a lot of discipline and strong will power to take up weight loss challenge .thanks for your motivation .
    Thanks and regards,
    Gaurav Gaur

    Reply
    • Hello Gaurav!

      Proper portion sizes is really important especially if we want to keep watch with our weight. Let me know what you think if you ever try the “1 Day Fat Loss Challenge.

      Reply
  4. Hi Julai. Another great post! Im trying to eat healthy and avoid sugar and carbs, but to be fair I never looked to closely to size of portions. And now, with so much time in home, keeping good weigh is more important then ever. Definitely will go with your advices, I looked also on  21 day fat loos challenge you mentioned, It looks interesting and good for health (and relatively easy!) I think I will test it in practice.

    Reply
    • Hello Cogito!

      I am glad that you find this post helpful. I agree that now is a good time to take a closer look at our health practices since we have a lot of time home due to covid. 21 Day Fat Loss challenge is indeed easy and effective!

      Reply
  5. Hello there! Oh wow, I guess so much change has occurred, I pretty much have no clue what is the proper portion sizes for adults. I pretty much just eat whatever I want until I feel about 70 to 80% full. I can’t even begin to imagine when one is hit with the truth of how much servings they have actually been eating. I definitely need to reduce my intake of sugars and carbohydrates. Thanks for providing the typical serving size of each food type.

    Reply
    • Hello Mike! Definitely I also felt like a lot has changed because I grew up with the knowledge that carbohydrates is the biggest portion in the food pyramid that we have to consume, and then suddenly I learned that I need to lower carbs and sugar because they’re what making me gain weight fast!

      Reply

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