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Visual aids for portion control

January 26, 2009|By Food Network Kitchens

Need help with portion control? Visual aids are a great way to make sure you're really serving up a serving size -- not two, three or four.

Here are guides to get you started:

o One serving of meat is about 3 ounces, roughly the size of a deck of cards.

o A 1-cup serving of pasta or rice should be about the size of a tennis ball. You'll fill up faster on a serving of grains if you choose healthy whole grains whenever possible.

o It takes about 850 peanuts to produce an 18-once jar of peanut butter, so a little of the stuff packs a powerful protein punch. Two tablespoons of peanut butter, about the size of a pingpong ball, is an appropriate serving size.

o Vegetables from all colors of the rainbow are an important part of a healthy diet. A serving of cooked veggies is half a cup.

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o Dried fruit keeps longer and takes up less space than fresh produce, but it also has four to five times the calories by weight. One serving of dried fruit is about 1/4 cup, or about the size of a large egg.

o When not covered in cheese and sour cream, potatoes aren't hard on the waistline and are high in potassium and vitamins C and B6. Just don't eat too much -- a perfectly portioned baked potato should be about the size of a computer mouse.

o Don't go for a cartoon-sized stack of flapjacks -- one compact-disc-sized pancake is the recommended serving size.

o A few cheese cubes and some fruit is the perfect mini-meal between lunch and dinner. To make sure you're noshing on the right amount, roll some dice. A serving of cheese is 1 ounce, or the size of six dice.

(For more information, visit www.foodnetwork.com. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.)

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