Measure, measure, measure your servings to help you
take control of your blood glucose – and your health.

Lifestyle shift

Teach your
eyes how much to eat.

Portion Control


How much did you just eat?

Take the measuring cup challenge.

The next time you serve yourself rice, cereal, or pasta, try this quick experiment:  put your portion into a measuring cup. If your serving measures a full cup or more, you are about to eat two to three times the standard ½ cup serving.

Don’t be too surprised by how much more you’ve served yourself: for decades you have been influenced by what is known as portion distortion.

Portion distortion means that your idea of what constitutes a serving has been visually super-sized. Portion sizes have been increasing over the past 20 years, making double cheeseburgers, popcorn tubs, extra tall lattes, 32-oz sodas, and jumbo burritos the new normal.

Measuring_spoons_WGet into the habit of measuring.

Keeping your metabolism in balance requires that you know exactly the amount of calories, fats, carbohydrates, and sugars you consume. An optimal strategy for keeping yourself well within your calorie and carbohydrate goals involves teaching your eyes what a serving size looks like.  And for that, you need to measure.

Use measuring cups, measuring spoons, and a kitchen scale until you learn what an accurate serving looks like. Soon you will be able to see the difference between a serving and the size of the portions you may have been putting on your plate.

The difference between a portion and a serving.

This is a useful distinction to keep in mind.  A portion is what you choose to serve yourself.  A serving is an exact amount determined by measuring cups, measuring spoons, or a kitchen scale.  A serving is what your healthcare team will recommend based on its exact nutritional content, and it’s what packaged food labels and USDA nutritional recommendations use. If you don’t measure and learn what a serving really looks like, you may wind up eating too much or too little.

If you are not at home and it’s inconvenient to measure your food, use these easy visual cues to help you measure your servings.

The Zimbabwe Hand Jive

An easy way to remember serving sizes for different food groups

The Zimbabwe hand teaching method was developed by Dr. Kazzim Mawji (of Zimbabwe) to help his diabetes patients more accurately estimate how much they were eating.  Also known as the Zimbabwe hand jive, this simple reference can help you visually estimate servings wherever you are.

Zimbabwe hand method = 1 cupZimbabwe hand method = 1/2 cupZimbabwe hand method = 1 cupZimbabwe hand method - protein servingZimbabwe hand method - one teaspoonTo find out more about recommended USDA serving sizes, go to







to help you avoid overeatingLayout 1-7-1B

1. Measure your servings

Use measuring cups, spoons and a kitchen scale to train your eyes to know what a healthy serving looks like.Measuring cup

2. Read nutrition labels

The label will tell you how many servings are in a package. A container of yogurt, for example, may actually contain two servings.

Nutrition Label

3. Use a smaller plate

How much you eat is influenced by the size of your plate.  Use smaller bowls and plates to make your servings appear larger.

Different size plates4. Eat more slowly

It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to register fullness, so eat more slowly in order to stop when you feel full.clock

5. Snack in between meals

Plan healthy snacks in between meals, so that you are never too hungry and over-serve yourself at mealtime.Healthy snack