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Food and portion size


A portion is the amount of food a person eats. When you are given a larger portion of food you are likely to eat more. These larger portions can make you gain weight. The portions you eat in a restaurant or at home are often larger than what you need to feel full. Eating smaller portions of food can help you control your weight.

Serving size

A Food Guide Serving is a measured amount of food according to Canada's Food Guide. You don't need to weigh or measure foods to know the serving size. Here are some common items that are the same portion as food serving sizes from Canada's Food Guide.

Baseball, light bulb or fist

1 cup (250 mL) cold cereal - Grain Products
salad - Vegetables and Fruit
fruit, 1 medium - Vegetables and Fruit
milk - Milk and Alternatives

Tennis ball

3/4 cup (175 mL) hot cereal - Grain Products
yogurt - Milk and Alternatives
beans or lentils - Meat and Alternatives

Computer mouse

1/2 cup (125 mL) vegetables, cooked - Vegetables and Fruit
tomato sauce - Vegetables and Fruit
potato, 1 medium - Vegetables and Fruit
pasta and rice - Grain Products

Deck of cards or palm of hand

2 1/2 oz (75 g) meat, chicken or fish - Meat and Alternatives

Hockey puck

bagel, mini - 2 Grain Products
bun: hamburger or hotdog - 2 Grain Products
potato chips, mini bag, 30 g  - High Sugar, Fat & Salt Food

Dice or thumb tip

1 tsp (5 mL) butter - High Sugar, Fat & Salt Food
sugar cube - High Sugar, Fat & Salt Food
Two 9 volt batteries or two thumb tips 1 1/2 oz (50 g) cheese - Milk and Alternatives

Health plate portions

Imagine your plate divided into three sections like the picture below. At least half (1/2) of your plate should be vegetables and fruit. The other half of your plate can be split into quarters. One quarter (1/4) for grains or potato, and one quarter (1/4) for meat and alternatives. This is what a healthy plate looks like.

Choose a medium sized plate (about the size of a Frisbee) to help you keep your portions healthy. If you have a large plate, fill only the middle of the plate. Don't fill a larger plate right to the edge with food.

Choose the right portion size for your body size and activity level.

Source: HealthLink Alberta

More Information:

Canada's Food Guide

Dietitians of Canada