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Rules of Thumb: your personal portion size guide

You may not always be able to measure out your food before eating-and you aren't expected to. However, you can estimate portion size using something you carry with you all the time... your hand.

The pictures below demonstrate how to use your hand for determining portion size. These "rules of thumb" are easy and effective ways for estimating how much you are eating.


1 fist = 1 cup of vegetable; fruit; or grain such as pasta, basmati rice, or whole grain cereal

Thumb Tip

1 thumb tip = 1 teaspoon of oil, trans-fat free margarine, or light butter


1 small palm = 3 ounces of fish, poultry, or meat

Small Handful

1 small handful (not overflowing) = 2 tablespoons of nuts (1/2 ounce)

Cupped Palms

2 cupped palms = 11/2 ounces of snack foods such as whole grain crackers

Index Finger

1 index finger = 1 ounce of cheese

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