Portion Sizes for Protein and Dairy

I hope you all had a great Labor Day!

Today we are focusing on choosing the correct portion sizes for healthy protein and dairy sources.

As you know, we can make the healthy choice when it comes to meat, beans and dairy, but eat way too much, causing our well intended efforts to still cause weight gain.  But if we retrain our eyes and stomachs to the appropriate portion sizes, the weight will start to come off and you will feel healthier and happier.

How Many Servings of Protein Should You Eat in a Day?

Women should consume 4-5 ounces of protein while men should consume 5-6 ounces of protein a day.  Protein can come in the form of lean meats or beans.

What a Serving of Lean Protein Looks Like:

  • 6 thin slices of deli ham, turkey or chicken = 2 ounces of meat
  • 6 medium shrimp = 2 ounces
  • 1/2 cup beans (pinto, black, white) = 2 ounces
  • half of the typical chicken breast = 3 ounces
  • lean steak, fish filets and pork chops = check weight on package

When you look at meat portion sizes, they are much bigger than what we think.  A chicken breast we receive at a restaurant or cook at home is around 6 ounces, which is a full day’s serving of protein.  And this is just a bit of what we eat at one meal!

So tonight for dinner, instead of eating the full-sized piece of meat, cut it in half and eat only one half, with plenty of vegetables and your appropriate portion of carbohydrates and healthy fats (depending on what you ate earlier in the day).

After you eat the half chicken breast and sides, wait at least 20 minutes until you even think about eating more food.  If you are hungry after 20 minutes, eat some more veggies.  If you are tummy grumbling/shaking hungry, go ahead and eat some more chicken (1/2 of the extra 1/2), and continue the process until you feel satisfied.  You will be surprised that you really don’t need the extra half of the chicken breast and are comfortably full with just the 3 ounce portion!

How Many Servings of Dairy Should You Eat in a Day

The average person should eat 2-3 servings of dairy in a day.  Remember to choose low-fat or non fat options of cheese, milk, yogurt and other forms of dairy.

What a Serving of Dairy Looks Like:

  • 8 ounces of 2% or skim milk
  • one 8 ounce carton of low fat or non fat yogurt
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat shredded cheese
  • 2 slices of reduced fat cheese
  • 1 cup of pudding (made with low fat or skim milk), frozen yogurt or ice cream (remember, pudding, frozen yogurt and ice cream are special treats, not everyday foods.)

Tips and Tricks for Portion Control

Baseball = 1 cup (serving size for frozen yogurt)
Deck of Cards = 3 oz (serving size for chicken breast)
Tennis ball or Standard Light Bulb = 1/2 cup (serving size for beans)
2 dice = serving size for cheese cubes

So today, remember your carbohydrates and healthy fat serving sizes, but also include the correct servings of protein and diary in your diet.




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