Food and Portion Size

  • Keep track of your progress and know serving sizes.
  • Losing just 5-10 lbs will lower your chance of diabetes or can help you control diabetes if you've already been diagnosed.

Getting Started

If you want to lose weight, cutting calories is a good place to start. This does not mean you have to stop eating your favorite foods. It does mean eating less.

"Portion control" means:

  • See how much you eat
  • Decide how much to eat
  • Cut back on portion size

Keeping Track

Start by seeing how much you eat. Find out by writing down everything you eat each day. Be sure to write down what you eat and how much. Do this for at least three days. You can use our Food & Activity Tracker or just keep a list on a piece of paper. Many people find that they eat more than they thought!

Serving Sizes

Look at your list and compare to the serving size guide below. How does your list compare?

Here are some serving size guidelines:

  • Meat, fish, poultry—3 oz. (about the size of the palm of your hand)
  • Cheese—1 oz. (about the size of your thumb)
  • Milk, yogurt, fresh vegetables—1 cup (about the size of a tennis ball)
  • Bread—one slice
  • Rice or cooked pasta—⅓ cup
  • Potato or corn—½ cup
  • Dry cereal—¾ cup

You may find that your serving sizes are much bigger. If so, it's time to make a change! Get started by using measuring cups and spoons to serve your food. After a while, you'll be able to "eyeball" the amount.

Remember This

Don't feel bad and think you have to lose a lot of weight. You only have to lose 5-10 lbs. to lower your chances for diabetes. If you have diabetes, losing 5-10 lbs. could help you manage it.

Related Information

Create Your Plate: Follow our six easy steps to creating a plate with the right portion sizes.