Believe it or not, your best measuring tool is never more than an arms length away. I had several students at the university come to me this week asking how they can eat healthy in the dining hall. I have two quick suggestions:
Portion Control. Although I suggest keeping measuring utensils near dry foods such as cereals and sugar in the pantry to estimate portion sizes, let’s be real, no one is going to carry measuring utensils to the dining hall. The quickest most universal measuring device for portion sizes is a person’s hand. I found these estimations on the American Diabetes Association’s website, http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/weight-loss/food-and-portion-size.html, and from the American Heart Association’s website, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Suggested-Servings-from-Each-Food-Group_UCM_318186_Article.jsp.
Protein: Depth and length of a woman’s palm: 3 ounces of chicken or beef
Fat: Thumb = 1 Tablespoon (Each tablespoon of fat accounts for roughly 100 calories of peanut butter, butter, olive oil, dressing, ect.)
Grains: 1 cupped hand = 1/2 Cup cooked grains
Fruits: 1 cupped hand = 1/2 Cup fresh fruit
Vegetables: 2 cupped hands = about 1 Cup steamed vegetables
USDA’s 10 Tips for the Dining Hall. The below link contains helpful tips for eating in the Dining Hall: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet26BeChooseyintheDiningHall.pdf (USDA, MyPlate)