A Visual Guide to Thanksgiving Portions

This will likely be the final installment of the Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays series I started publishing October 28. Thanksgiving is just a few days away. But, I wanted to get one last post in on what I consider to be the most important concept in weight reduction and weight control – portion size. Size does matter.

In the nearly four years of blogging I have written a number of posts on portion control, most of which I will list at the end of this post. What follow immediately are a number of examples to give you some visual guidance to help with your portion control at the upcoming feast.

Don't gamble with portion sizes. A deck of cards is the same size as three ounces of turkey.

Don’t gamble with portion sizes. A deck of cards is the same size as three ounces of turkey  white meat – that comes to 119 calories – without skin or gravy.

A serving of turkey totals three ounces. That much turkey stacks up to about the size of a deck of playing cards. A serving of white meat yields 132 calories. Dark meat yields 145 calories. White meat with no skin yields 119 calories.

On the subject of old Tom, consider this when administering gravy. A serving of gravy approximates 1/4 cup. That is about the size of a golf ball. Each of those golf ball sized servings adds 30 to 50 calories to your meal.

A single serving of potatoes is a half cup which is about the size of a tennis ball cut in half. That half tennis ball of potatoes will add around 150 calories to your total – without gravy.

On the other hand, veggies can cut way into your calorie total if you don’t smother them in gravy or cheese spread. Cooked cauliflower with an herbal flavoring adds only 15 calories to your meal. One serving is the size of a tennis ball. Steamed broccoli, another healthy veggie is only 30 calories per serving. If you stack up a lot of veggies on your plate and start eating those, you can help to satisfy your hunger and not load a lot of calories into your body.

For more on portion control check out the following posts:
How to use portion control

Get a food scale for portion control

Weight Watchers portion control tricks for dining out

Spoon and bowl size affect portion control

Pay attention to portion sizes – You CAN have too much of a good thing

Get control of your weight

Visualizing portion sizes

Single serving portions

From the Portion Teller

The portion plate

Portion size reminder – pasta



Filed under calories, portion control, portion size, Uncategorized, Weight

2 responses to “A Visual Guide to Thanksgiving Portions

  1. charles alexander

    Hey Tony Its your old buddy Chaz. Finally retired and am back on the bike…in Southern California, not Chicago so it’s an easy year round sport. Riding with groups is new to me and helped me get my legs back. I a going to do 82 miles on Sunday with a total climbing elevation of just over 7,000 feet. I am forty pounds lighter than when I left Las Vegas six years ago. Most of it came off within the last four years by a combination of (you guessed it) portion control and exercise. Anyway…here is an article that you may find interesting. For all I know you have published earlier as I can’t say I read every column you send my way (but I do read a large %). Hope you are doing well…keep the blog going!!! Chaz

    On Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 10:02 AM, One Regular Guy Writing about Food,


    • Hey, Chaz! Great to hear from you. Congrats on the retirement and getting back on the bike. I am not much of a group rider, but if it works for you, do it. That 82 miles is a big time ride, not to mention the elevation. Great work losing 40 pounds! Way to go! Isn’t it funny how powerful portion control and exercise combine? That was my key, too. Are you still on IYT. Funny we haven’t played in a while. Keep in touch.


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