Get real about portion sizes

Help your family lose extra pounds and maintain healthy weights by making sure everyone eats the right amount.

Help your family stay healthy by making sure everyone eats the right amount.

Measure serving sizes: Most Americans have lost touch with what a healthy, yet filling, portion looks like. Remind yourself: Use measuring cups and spoons to serve right-size meals. It also helps to visualize a proper portion. For example: 1 cup of breakfast cereal is the size of a fist; 2 tablespoons of peanut butter is the size of a ping-pong ball; and 3 ounces of hamburger, fish or poultry is the size of a deck of cards. You can find other handy memory tools like these for your favorite foods by visiting the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Web site and clicking on "Serving Size Card."

Give portions proportion: In a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, even nutrition experts ate more when given larger bowls of food. To keep servings in check, put your dinner on a salad plate and drink anything other than water from a juice glass.

Share restaurant meals: Many restaurants serve supersize portions of high-calorie foods. When dining out or ordering takeout, split meals: A family of four might start with appetizer salads and then fill up on two entrées; if you're eating alone, get an appetizer as your entrée,