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Estimating Serving Size
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Estimating Serving Size

A well known hurdle to weight control is confusion about serving sizes. It is important to understand portion sizes so that you can meet your nutrition requirements while maintaining a healthy diet. Often, the portions we eat are bigger than we think and are also larger than the standard portions from Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating. The Food Guide provides daily guidelines but what do these standard sizes actually look like on your plate?

To know if you're serving recommended amounts, try using your hands to help you visualize the size of the portions you eat. For example, what does a half cup of pasta look like? Check out these illustrations. It's all in your hands.


Fist = 8 oz/1 cup

A clenched fist demonstrates a 1 cup serving (8 oz) of a hot or cold beverage like Crystal Light Low Calorie Drink Mix.

2 hands = 1 cup
Cup both hands to judge a 1 cup serving of Kraft Dinner, breakfast cereal such as shredded wheat cereal or mixed dishes like chili.

1 hand = 1/2 cup One cupped hand shows what a half cup serving of pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes looks like.

Palm = 3 oz meat
The palm of your hand is about the size of a 3 oz serving of cooked meat: a chicken breast, hamburger patty, fish fillet, pork loin or canned tuna.

2 thumbs = 1 tablespoon
Two thumbs placed together show the size of a 1 Tbsp serving of Kraft Peanut Butter, Kraft Dressing, Cheez Whiz Spread or Miracle Whip Dressing.

Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating is flexible for a reason. Different people need different amounts of food. What you eat today may differ from what you eat tomorrow...based on many things including activity level. Be flexible and if you're still hungry, reach for something from the Vegetables and Fruit food group.

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