Social eating can be a challenge for food tracking. It’s tempting skip tracking when you eat out. If you don’t eat away from home often, that might be a good call – a nice psychological break.
But if you eat away from home frequently and don’t have a strategy for tracking your food, it’s going to be hard to stick with your plan.
Bringing a food scale to a dinner party – probably not a good call.
You need a strategy for estimating your portion sizes without using a digital scale.
Start by taking a pic! Pictures of your food aren’t just for social media. Use the pictures and the hand estimation tips below to log your food when you get home.
Even though our hand sizes vary, these estimations will still work better than guessing or not tracking at all. Our hand sizes are relative to our stature. If your hand is smaller than most, you’ll be getting a little less than the suggested estimation. That’s ok.
My husband’s hands are bigger than mine – but so is his body and he needs more calories in general. If his estimations are a little larger, it’s still ok for him to use because his portion sizes are also bigger.
I would not use his hand to estimate my portions!
I also wouldn’t use these estimations all the time. This isn’t meant to be used instead of a digital scale when you’re at home. But it will help for those occasional meals when you’re eating out and want to track.
BONUS TIP 1: You could test it at home. Measure 3 ounces of chicken and put it in the palm of your hand. That will give you a visual reference.
(Tracking Nerd Level: Expert)
BONUS TIP 2: You could take photos of food measured at home as compared to parts of your hand to keep on your phone to use as reference for when you eat out.
(Tracking Nerd Level: Ninja)
Hope you found these hand estimation tips useful! I’d love to read your comments or answer questions.
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Hi! I'm Tammy! I was a busy, stressed, and unhealthy teacher until I decided to take control of my health. I did not become an athlete until I was in my 50's.
I earned personal training and fitness nutrition certifications, then retired from teaching to dedicate my work life to fitness education for other busy women over 40.
My results are obviously not typical because most people don't train to compete as a bodybuilder.
But I believe everyone can make positive changes with healthy habits! Each of us has a unique combination of strengths and challenges that need to be considered to customize a program that will work for us. Science-based principles, flexibility, and consistency make all the difference.