43 Folders

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Guesstimating portions with real-world objects

Typical Portion Control Tips/Guidelines

“Deck of cards, Merlin; deck of cards,” my friend Dennis would always say as we sat down to eat ribeyes the size of kittens.

That terrific, if ignored, heuristic for estimating the desirable 3-ounce portion of beef came back to me this week with all the interest in the USDA’s mypyramid.gov site and the new dietary guidelines.

I’m a big of fan of these kinds of rules of thumb and was pleased to turn up this small collection of real-world portion size guesstimates . Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Cooked vegetables – palm of hand
  • Grilled Fish – checkbook
  • 2 TB butter, etc. – thumb (joint to tip)
  • Chopped fruit – tennis ball
  • Apple – baseball
  • Potato – computer mouse
  • Bagel – hockey puck
  • Pancake – CD ROM
  • Steamed rice – cupcake wrapper
  • Cheese – pair of dice
  • 1 oz meat – matchbox
  • 3 oz meat – bar of soap or deck of cards
  • 8 oz meat – thin paperback book

Got any other cool real-world guesstimators?

finn's picture

Good luck trying to find...

Good luck trying to find a bagel the size of a hockey puck these days. On average, I think they are more than double that size now.




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