Forget measuring cups, clunky scales and painful pinches with that body fat caliper. What if a tool to better health were right there in front of you? According to one nutritional expert, you need look no farther than the palm of your hand.
“Most Americans are tired of decoding nutrition. It is easy to eat healthfully when you have the right information and nutritious foods at your fingertips, literally,” explains nutritionist Nancy Bennett, MS, RD, CDE. “The hand is a very convenient tool for guiding portion sizes.”
From pinky to fist, each person’s hand is proportional to his or her overall size and body makeup, making it a go-anywhere guide for better portion sizes. Here are a few “handy” tips:
• Fist (1/2 cup): Use your fist to judge one recommended serving of cooked pasta.
• Thumb (1 tsp): Use the tip of your thumb to measure a pat of butter. Use the length from the knuckle of your thumb to its tip to judge a serving of salad dressing.
• Palm (3 oz): Use your palm to judge a recommended serving size of lean protein. Evidence shows that chicken contains less saturated fat than beef, lamb or pork and experts agree that it makes a great protein staple.
• Open Hand: Use your open hand to judge the amount of space on your plate for fruits and vegetables.
• Fingers: Hold three fingers together and imagine a bundle of French fries; that would be the best-case portion scenario (and 150 calories) if you do choose to indulge.
• Measure Your Grip: Take hold of a petite, white wine glass (nongoblet) and pour wine, leaving an inch-or roughly two finger widths-empty at the top of the glass. This should be about 5 oz of wine, the recommended portion for red wine (a “superfood”), or about 150 calories.
How to create the correct plate of food at home? “Using your hand as your guide, start with lean protein, like a grilled chicken breast,” suggests Bennett, a nutritionist for Foster Farms, considered the West Coast’s leading poultry producer. “Serve the chicken alongside whole grain pasta and fresh steamed vegetables, or even a fresh fruit salad.”