Trucker Health: What is a healthy portion size

Understanding the difference between serving size and portion size.

Truck drivers have a higher rate of obesity and diabetes than the national average compared other occupations. The long hours of sitting and limited access to healthy food options play a big part as to why. We all know that eating healthy at a truck stop can be challenging sometimes but not impossible. had nutritionist, Andrea Morley go into a TA truck stop to see what kind of healthy choices are available to visitors. 

Here are some tips from nutritionist Andrea Morley, to help you better manage your portions and keep from over-eating:

  1. Don’t eat until you are totally full, eat until you are just satisfied. Pay attention to your hunger cues to recognize when you are no longer hungry.
  2. Wait 20 minutes before you decide to have a 2nd serving or dessert. This will give your body and brain time to register whether you truly are still hungry.
  3. Eat more slowly. Take breaks, place your fork down between bites. Take your time to enjoy and savor the tastes of your food.
  4. Use a smaller plate, a salad plate vs a larger dinner plate.
  5. When choosing foods – start with vegetables. Don’t need to be as concerned about portion control with regards to your veggies. Spatially, 1/2 of your plate should be vegetables.
  6. Sip on water throughout your meal. Often our brains mix up a thirst for hunger. Be careful not to chug down a full glass or two of water before a meal because that tens to dilute the stomach acid you need to properly digest your food.
  7. If you typical struggle with portion sizes, try taking or filling 3/4 of your plate.

Do you ever wonder who determines the serving sizes on food packages?

Did you ever have this happen to you? After enjoying a quick snack, you check the nutrition label only to learn you’ve just eaten two, three or even four servings when you thought you were having one. Our food industry tends to double, triple or even supersize servings and restaurants are notorious for putting way more food on a plate than anyone other than an intense athlete should eat, leaving us perpetually over-served. Unfortunately, many of us have visually adjusted to these big serving sizes and are unaware of what an accurate portion looks like.

Myfitnesspal has created an easy visual guide to help you match a healthy portion size to a recommended serving size for you.

If we can reprogram our brains to see healthy servings sizes, then maybe we won’t be fooled when it comes to being over-served and eating too much.

This guide — using a medium adult hand as the visual clue — should help.

Serving Size:

A serving size is a measured amount of food — 1 cup, 1 slice, 1 bag, etc. — intended to be eaten at one time. It’s the amount you’ll see on a food label, and it’s what the USDA uses in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Portion Size:

A portion size, by contrast, is the amount of food or drink you actually consume in one sitting, whether an entire rack of ribs with all the fixings or a single apple. The goal of this guide is to help you match your portions to recommended serving sizes.

portion size for grains

Cereal & Grains – 1 cup is the amount that fits in a mounded pile in the palm of a medium adult hand or about the size of a tennis ball. It provides approximately 200 calories and 50 grams of carbohydrates.

Granola portion size
is best used as a topping or mixed in with cereal, instead of eaten by the bowl-full. A little goes a long way. Be careful with the serving sizes on the granola box. It could say 2/3 cup, which is more than twice the recommended amount. See above for what 1/4 cup looks in a medium adult hand: it should just cover the center portion of your palm.

Dried Fruit Portion Size

Nuts & Dried Fruit – 1 serving of dried fruit or nuts is 1/4 cup (40 grams), which fills the center of the palm of a medium adult hand. Similar to granola, it’s best to spread this throughout the day or add it to a flaky cereal or a healthy trail mix. Also, avoid dried fruit that contains added sugar –– it’s best to save those calories.

Fresh Fruit portion size
Fresh Fruit – One medium piece of fresh fruit is about the size of a small fist or 3–4 inches in diameter. Aim for 3–5 servings of fruit per day — and since dried fruit is so calorie-dense, opt for fresh first.


leafy greens portion size

Leafy Greens – A serving of leafy greens is technically 1 cup, but this is one time where we recommend doubling or tripling the portion — 2 cups is about what two medium adult hands can pick up in a single go.


non starch portion size

Non-starchy vegetables –  include broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, asparagus, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions. 1 cup of chopped, non-starchy vegetables create a mounded handful in a medium adult hand.

Myfitnesspal is a great resource for nutritional and exercise tips, recipes and general wellness. They have easy to use app to help you make the right food choices as well as an exercise app that ties into the nutritional one so you can easily combine your diet and workout goals together. Good physical health is attainable but it takes discipline to make healthy choices on a daily basis. When you do, you’ll feel better and you’ll have more energy throughout the day.


Another good resource is the guide.


MyPlate is a reminder to find your healthy eating style and build it throughout your lifetime. Everything you eat and drink matters. The right mix can help you be healthier now and in the future. This means:

  • Focus on variety, amount, and nutrition.
  • Choose foods and beverages with less saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.
  • Start with small changes to build healthier eating styles.
  • Support healthy eating for everyone.

Eating healthy is a journey shaped by many factors, including our stage of life, situations, preferences, access to food, culture, traditions, and the personal decisions we make over time. All your food and beverage choices count. MyPlate offers ideas and tips to help you create a healthier eating style that meets your individual needs and improves your health.



myfitnesspal  portion sizes guide

Great plate portion sizes