Here are some how-to tips to measure food portions when you don’t have a digital kitchen scale and/or a measuring cup nearby! Measuring this way is certainly better than just guessing, getting things wrong and messing up your diet.

There are 3 easy ways to measure without a kitchen scale:

  • use your hand (assuming it’s clean!),
  • use a convenient conversion table,
  • use “portion control” plates or glasses.

Guidelines for measuring with your hand:

The actual amount of food your hand can hold will depend on the size of your hand and on the type of food that you are measuring. Use this list as a general guide to estimate your portion sizes.

  • One level handful = one quarter cup. A single serving of nuts is one ounce or 1/4 to 1/3 cup.
  • One heaping handful = one half cup. A single serving of dry pasta is roughly 1/2 cup
  • Two hands full = one cup.  A single serving of cooked pasta is usually one cup
  • One finger scoop = one teaspoon. A single serving of butter or oil is often one teaspoon
  • Two finger scoop = one tablespoon. A single serving of peanut butter is usually 2 tablespoons or two 2-finger scoops.

You can also use your hand to measure food portions of meat and produce. For example, a single 3-ounce serving of meat is roughly the size of your palm. A one-cup serving of fruit or vegetables is roughly the size of your closed fist.  A single serving of cheese is about the size of your thumb.

More handy tips for measuring food portions on the next page …

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