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A Short Primer on Nutrient Variety and Portion Sizes

An important thing to consider when preparing a meal is variety. Eating several different colors and textures of food will assure you’re getting a variety of nutrients.

Meal components should consist of a protein, starches, vegetables or fruit, and fat. How much of each you should eat can vary depending on your age, weight and activity level.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: 3 oz of protein, 1 cup of fruits or vegetables, ½ cup of starches and a tablespoon of fat. You can weigh each item or use other methods to measure portion sizes like using your hand. The palm of your hand is about the size of 3 ounces of protein. The hand made into a clenched fist is roughly the same as of one cup, or a serving size for vegetables and fruit. A cupped hand would represent a ½ cup, or the serving size for starches. Your thumb would be about 1 oz. or a tablespoon, which is the serving size for fats.

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