Perfect Portions for Smarter Eating

by in Recipes, January 6th, 2012

It’s a new year — time for fresh starts, changed perspectives and, of course, solemn promises to never eat “bad” foods again. Carbs, sweets, deep-fried anything — it’s all gone for many as of January 1. At least until February 1.  This year, however, instead of making sweeping declarations of limited eating and swearing off your favorite foods, learn how to savor these dishes in moderation using easy-to-remember portion control guidelines. Check out below examples of portioned plates and find what constitutes a single serving of food to prevent overeating. Then, cook up our easy and lightened-up versions of your favorite meals, so that you can have your cake and enjoy it, too.

Pasta or Rice: Just one cup of these starches (pictured above) equals a serving and, when plated, is similar in size to a tennis ball.

Meat: Think twice about that beefy cut of meat. One serving is near just three ounces (pictured above).

Cheese: A go-to afternoon snack, cubes of cheese (pictured above) are filling and loaded with good-for-you calcium. Keep the size of each cube to that of a dice – six of them will make up a one-ounce serving.

Pancakes: Who doesn’t want to start his or her day with a golden, fluffy flapjack (pictured above)? Skip those stacks of super-sized pancakes and opt for a healthier portion of compact disc-sized ones instead.

Read more of our portion control tips, then check out the recipes below for healthier takes on classic dishes.

Food Network Magazine’s Light Chicken Potpie features fresh veggies and herbs and protein-packed shredded chicken baked beneath a warm, flaky crust. Fat-free Greek yogurt and 2-percent milk add richness and creamy texture without extra fat.

Traditional Alfredo sauces are laden with butter and heavy cream. This Doesn’t Taste Like It’s Light Alfredo Sauce recipe from, however, uses just 2 teaspoons of butter and fat-free half-and-half to shave calories. Sautéed garlic and nutty Parmesan cheese ensure that none of the traditional taste is lost from this Italian favorite.

For a guilt-free sweet slice, try Alton’s Angel Food Cake from Cooking Channel. A splash of orange extract adds a subtle aroma to this airy, egg white-based dessert, best served with sweet berries.

Visit Food Network’s Healthy Every Week for more ways to maintain Perfect Portion Sizes and get the skinny on our favorite slimmed-down recipes.

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Comments (8)

  1. Ian S says:

    Cool visuals. How about vegetables? A basketball?

  2. Great comparisons! I wonder how much BBQ sauce is too much…

  3. Maria, this is too cute! After the tennis game, some poker, yahtzee and then some music! Hahaha, just kidding, I love the visuals also. The props are so creative.

  4. @Zc55p says:

    dunlopple 3 is funny.

  5. Perfect post for the new year. The visuals are a great way to keep portions sizes low. Basketbal sized veggie portions would be exactly what we need! Great article & comments.

  6. Pkee says:

    Love the visuals…to help w/ the portions, I'm including DH's or DD2's least favorite veggies in every meal. They can eat as much as they want but must have a serving of everything offered first. Oddly enough, no seconds have been taken this year. At some point, someone is going to crave brussel sprouts, squash, and beets :)

  7. at home mom says:

    i truly understand the portion theory, but in my family a portion of pasta is a lot bigger than a tennis ball….Love the pictures and recipes…

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