What Is A Serving Size?

Image from: blturlock.blogspot.com

I am on a mission this year to get in shape and to become healthier. I’m doing this for several reasons but one in particular is that if I plan to become an RD I need to be healthy – no one, including myself wants to take advice about health and wellness from someone who is not healthy and practicing what they are preaching.

One of the biggest things that I have found is really being conscious of the serving sizes. I don’t know about you but I don’t tend to carry around my food scale and measuring cups with me everywhere I go to measure everything I eat. So below is a list of examples for you to keep in mind. You can find more information about healthy eating on my Healthy Eating page , Choose My Plate. There are also many more examples and references along with various images out there for serving sizes, but these are a few that I have found to be helpful.

Confused about portions sizes? Try relating them to everyday items to help you out!

  • A rounded handful – one 1/2 cup vegetables or fruit, 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta, or a snack serving of crisps or pretzels
  • Woman’s fist – another way of visualising a serving of vegetables, or one piece of whole fruit
  • Small handful or golf ball – 1/4 cup of dried fruit or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • A matchbox – a 1 oz serving of meat, or a serving of cheese
  • Deck of cards, – a 3 oz serving (recommended serving = 3-4 oz) of meat, fish or poultry, or ten chips/french fries
  • Check book – a serving of fish (approximately 3 oz)
  • Tennis ball – 1/2 cup of pasta, or a serving of ice cream
  • Computer mouse – a medium baked potato
  • Compact disc – one serving of pancake or small waffle
  • Thumb tip or one dice – one teaspoon of margarine
  • A ping-pong ball – two tablespoons of peanut butter
  • Small milk carton – 8 fl oz glass of milk
  • A baseball – 8 fl oz cup of yogurt, one cup of beans, or one cup of dry cereal

Are you wondering how much you should be consuming of each food group on a daily basis? Visit this great resource, Personalized Daily Food Plans from Choose My Plate.

For more resources be sure to visit:

WebMD.com  – Portion Size Plate

MIT – Serving Sizes

Spark People – The Portion Distortion Guide

Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Corn & Black Bean Salsa


I would grill all year-long if I could. This year we had so much crazy snow drifts that it was a bit impossible to do. I love my grill dearly…great flavors, you can grill pretty much anything, its outside with the sun and the fresh air, easy clean up, and less fats are used! We grill steaks, chicken, burgers, hot dogs, hot sausages, shrimp, fish, pizza, and veggies…tons of veggies! Last year I bought one of those little grill baskets for I think $3.00 and it works like a charm, especially for mushrooms.

Last week we got the tank refilled and have used it quite a bit since. We are both trying to get in better shape and eat healthier (a follow-up post to my I’m on a mission…post will appear soon, I promise!). So the grill comes in very handy for this, because like I mentioned I use way less oils or fats when cooking. We have switched from eating red meat weekly (sometimes multiple times a week) to about monthly and started eating more chicken (breasts, no skin – which we have always done), shrimp, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.

Since starting to work out and now that I have gotten on a schedule with a program I really like I have been craving much healthier foods…funny how that works huh? Snacks include slices of yellow, red, or orange bell peppers, or carrot sticks with hummus and mandarins! Seriously I never ate peppers or any form of oranges, but loved orange juice. Now I can’t seem to get enough of them. For lunch I have been buying Boar’s Head low sodium meats and making little “roll-ups” with some low sodium cheese, and baby spinach. I’m really like this craving of healthy foods! More to come on all of this in my follow-up post mentioned above, but for now let’s get back to the Grilled Shrimp Tacos…

These are SO easy to make, light, and delicious – we are loving this little creation of mine. As with the majority of my recipes please feel free to adjust the seasonings and spices to your flavor likings!

Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Corn & Black Bean Salsa




  • Lime Zest                                                                  1 lime
  • Lime Juice, Fresh                                                     2 limes
  • Cayenne Pepper                                                      ¼ teaspoon
  • Salt, Kosher                                                             1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Black Pepper, freshly ground                                   1/8 teaspoon
  • Corn, rinsed & drained                                             1 can (14oz)
  • Black beans, no salt added rinsed, & drained          1 can (15.5 oz)
  • Red Bell Pepper, small dice                                      ¼ cup
  • Orange Bell Pepper, small dice                                ¼ cup

Method of Preparation

  1. Gather all necessary equipment
  2. In a medium bowl zest one lime. Zest the second lime used later for juicing and set aside zest for the shrimp marinade.
  3. Juice the two limes into the bowl
  4. Add cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper, mix until well combined. Set aside
  5. Open cans of corn and black beans. Drain and rinse corn first, and then add to a medium bowl.
  6. Drain and rinse the black beans and add to the bowl with the corn and lime juice mixture.
  7. Dice bell peppers and add to the corn, black beans, and lime juice mixture.
  8. Mix well, cover and store in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  9. Mix well before serving.
  10. Serve with grilled shrimp tacos and/or corn tortilla chips.

Grilled Shrimp Tacos – makes six tacos


  • Olive Oil                                                                      2 tablespoons
  • Cayenne Pepper                                                        ½ teaspoon
  • Lime Zest                                                                    1 lime
  • Salt, Kosher                                                                1/8 teaspoon
  • Jumbo Shrimp, peeled, deveined, cleaned                 10 each
  • Corn Tortilla, soft                                                          6 each
  • Avocado, halved and sliced                                        1 each

Method of Preparation

  1. Gather all necessary equipment
  2. In a small bowl combine first four ingredients and mix well.
  3. Add shrimp and toss to evenly coat all shrimp.
  4. Cover and marinade in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. Heat grill to medium high
  6. Either skewers your shrimp or use a grill basket to cook shrimp.
  7. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Shrimp should be opaque and cooked throughout.
  8. Remove shrimp from grill and cut up into large chunks or leave whole.
  9. On the cooler part of the grill add the soft corn tortilla shells.
  10. Grill until you see grill marks – about 3-4 minutes per side (this all depends on how hot your grill is, and how crispy you want them…at this stage they are still quite pliable).
  11. To assemble your tacos add 2-3 tablespoons of corn and black bean salsa on each grilled corn tortilla shell.
  12. Top with equal portions of diced or whole grilled shrimp and slices of avocado.
  13. Enjoy the extra salsa with some gluten-free corn tortilla chips.

Curry Mango Smoothie

IMG_4211_4825(don’t mind the spoon and mug…I couldn’t find a tall zombie glass to display it in)

In Vegetarian Cuisine we are learning so much about the different vegetarian diets and how to achieve meeting your requirements for carbohydrates, proteins, fats, etc. Two weeks about our class was all about legumes and protein alternatives.

Legumes are seeds in pods and include: beans (garbanzo, kidney, mung, soy, anasazi, and more) and Lentils. All of these are great gluten-free options as well as vegetarian and vegan. When looking at legumes you want to make sure that they are fresh looking, uniform in size, no holes (little bugs may have gotten in), brightly colored, and free of dust.

There is so much that can be done with legumes: soups, meat alternatives, breads, flours, you can use them in salads, and ice creams. If you are using fresh beans (beans not from a can) you want to soak them before cooking them. Beans should be soaked for at least four hours but no more than 8. To start you want to sort through the beans and look for the things listed above, discard any beans that fall into those categories. Rinse the beans, and soak them in 4 x the amount of water (1 up of beans = 4 cups water), rise them again and discard the soaking liquid, then cook as directed.

When you are cooking beans you do not want to add any salt or anything acidic to the water – they wont cook!! Salt or season the beans after they have been completely cooked. If you shy away from beans because you experience gas after eating them a few tricks to reduce this is – eat more of them! Over time your digestive system will adjust to the beans. Soaking the beans also helps – be sure to change the water at least 2 times during the soaking process, and also adding Kombu, fennel or cumin to the water while cooking helps to easily digest the beans.

Cooked beans can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for about 3-4 days or frozen for up to one year.

I was assigned to make a beverage with using legumes. I thought for a minute and came up with a smoothie using tofu and garbanzo beans. I found some fresh mango in our kitchen and orange juice as well. I mixed all together and it tasted good but I felt it needed a little something extra…curry powder. I know this all sounds weird, but it is mighty delicious! The curry powered is not overwhelming at all, it is just a little hint at the end. This would be perfect in the summer on a hot day, nutritious and delicious.

Curry Mango Smoothie


Garbanzo beans, cooked                                                      4 ounces

Silken Tofu                                                                            4 ounces

Mango, fresh or frozen                                                          4 ounces

Orange juice                                                                          4 ounces

Honey                                                                                    2 teaspoons

Curry powder                                                                         ¼ teaspoon

Ice                                                                                          8 ounces

Method of Preparation:

1.    Gather all ingredients and equipment.
2.    Cut mango (see Chef’s Notes) and set aside.
3.    In the pitcher of a blender add the garbanzo beans (if using canned, rinse and drain well), silken tofu, mango, orange juice, honey, and curry powder. Cover tightly with lid.
4.    Blend on high-speed until smooth.
5.    Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
6.    Add ice and blend until ice is well blended.
7.    Serve immediately.

Chef’s Notes: How to cut a mango: Place the mango on one of its flat sides on a cutting board. Slice the mango lengthwise around the seed. Turn the mango over and repeat on the other side. Set aside the seed and remaining mango flesh. Carefully with a paring knife cut the mango with a cross-hatch pattern. Be sure to not cut through the skin. Invert the mango half by placing your thumbs on each end, and your fingers underneath on the skin. Press upwards with your fingers and then with the paring knife, cut off the cross-hatch cubes of mangos. Repeat with other side. Discard the skin. Cut the remaining mango flesh from the seed. With a paring knife remove skin from the mango flesh and cut into cubes. Discard skin.