Le parfait guide des portions

The Perfect Portion Guide

A portion? What’s that?

Over the years, references to portion sizes have become lost. We don’t even know exactly what an XYZ portion of a food should be anymore. That said, portion sizes used to be a religion! You could even buy coloured plastic containers to help measure them. Let’s take a closer look at portion sizes, because after all, they are still relevant!

What is a standard portion?

The portion recognized as standard (or normal!) for a food by the population can vary considerably from one individual to another according to his interpretation, his references, his past, his appetite, etc. For example, it has been shown in the scientific literature that portions of pasta representing 60% to 130% of a standard portion (100%) were considered normal by more than 50% of respondents. Amazing, isn’t it?

  • Crunchy Quiz!

    In order to test your knowledge, here is a little quiz on a food that is very popular with everyone: potato chips! I challenge you to find out what the standard serving size is for this favourite food.

    The answer is at the very end of the article!

In addition, this study explains that portions perceived as smaller than normal encourage food compensation. Consumers would therefore tend to eat more, unlike portions perceived as normal.

The same exercise was then repeated with a portion of oatmeal, curry, chips and chocolate cake served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Despite all these food variations, the researchers still came to the same conclusions: a great disparity exists in the perception of portion size.

With these results, it is easy to conclude that a standard (or normal) portion size remains a mystery to many. For many, this can make it more difficult to serve themselves adequately at mealtime. Another spoonful of rice? More chicken? You sometimes wonder about this, don’t you?

  • Did you know that...

    the concept of proportions and the balanced plate is difficult to digest for many? If you prefer to use the portion system because you find it easier, that’s fine! Some people like to have more guidance and prefer not to break the bicycle! That’s the advantage of Swiitch!

    To each his own!

An important change in the new Canada’s Food Guide

In the new version of Canada’s Food Guide, references to portions have been removed. Instead, the concept of proportion has been introduced! In fact, they now suggest a balanced plate where vegetables and fruit take centre stage.

That’s great, but how do you apply it if you’re a snacker or don’t eat three traditional meals a day? That’s where knowing portion sizes can really help.

Portion sizes of your favourite foods

If you’re wondering how to easily measure your portion sizes anywhere, there’s an indispensable tool that will definitely save you a lot of time. The measuring tool is very simple and you know it very well: your hand!

  • Use your hands as a measuring tool!

These suggestions are meant to familiarize you with the standard portion sizes. You don’t have to follow them to the letter, but feel free to use them as a guide when preparing your meal, lunch box or snack!

Of course, the portions can be adapted. They serve as a base and must be adjusted at each meal, taking into account the other foods present, your hunger, the frequency and number of meals and snacks in your day.

FoodVisual Portions
Crackers1 handful
High fiber cereals1 handful
Sweetened cereals2 handfuls
Puffed cereals3 handfuls and more
Cooked oatmeal2 handfuls
Granola1 handful
Cooked pastaFist
Tofu noodles2 handfuls and more
Cooked cereals (couscous, rice, barley, etc.)Fist
Plain chips and rice cakes2 handfuls and more
Flavored chips and rice cakes1 handful
Muffin½ fist
Salad croutons1 handful
Fresh, frozen, cooked or canned fruits and vegetables2 handfuls and more
Dried fruit1 handful
Baked or mashed potatoFist
Greens2 handfuls and more
Lean meat (fish, white meat from poultry) Full hand
Red meat and dark meat from poultryPalm of the hand
Deli meats and processed meatsHand surface
Tofu, seitan and tempehFull hand
Legumes and edamameFist
Nuts and seeds 1 handful
Protein powder2 fingers
French fries1 handful
Chips1 handful
Ice cream½ fist
Sorbet, yogurt and ice milkFist
Candy and confectionery1 handful
Chocolate2 fingers
Plain popcorn2 handfuls and more
Movie style popcorn2 handfuls
Soft cheese Thumb
Firm cheeseIndex
Low-fat cheese 2 fingers
Spreadable cheeseThumb
Nut butter, jam, syrup or honeyThumb
Regular mayonnaiseThumb tip
Mayonnaise ½ fat lessThumb
Fat (oil, margarine, salad dressing)Thumb tip

Need to adjust? Take it easy!

It’s important to recognize what a standard serving size is for certain foods and to see if these portions are in line with your perceptions. This is also a good way to slowly adjust your diet. Use the portion guide above to help you with this process! In the end, remember that the most important thing to remember when it comes to changing your portion sizes is to go slowly!


Crunchy Quiz Answer: A serving size of about 18 chips (or 25g) is the benchmark serving size.