Read here for the PN (aka my nutrition bible) scoop on calorie counting
It’s simple, really. All you need is the ability to count to two. And your own hand.
Here how it works:
- Your palm determines your protein portions.
- Your fist determines your veggie portions.
- Your cupped hand determines your carb portions.
- Your thumb determines your fat portions.
To determine your protein intake
For protein-dense foods like meat, fish, eggs, dairy, or beans, use a palm sized serving.
For men we recommend two palm-sized portions with each meal.
And for women we recommend one palm-sized portion with each meal.
Note: a palm-sized portion is the same thickness and diameter as your palm.
To determine your vegetable intake
For veggies like broccoli, spinach, salad, carrots, etc. use a fist-sized serving.
For men we recommend 2 fist-sized portions of vegetables with each meal.
And for women we recommend 1 fist-sized portion of vegetables with each meal.
Again, a fist-sized portion is the same thickness and diameter as your fist.
To determine your carbohydrate intake
For carbohydrate-dense foods – like grains, starches, or fruits – use a cupped hand to determine your serving size.
For men we recommend 2 cupped-hand sized portions of carbohydrates with most meals.
And for women we recommend 1 cupped-hand sized portion of carbohydrates with most meals.
To determine your fat intake
For fat-dense foods – like oils, butters, nut butters, nuts/seeds – use your entire thumb to determine your serving size.
For men we recommend 2 thumb-sized portions of fats with most meals.
And for women we recommend 1 thumb-sized portion of fats with most meals.
A note on body size
Of course, if you’re a bigger person, you probably have a bigger hand. And if you’re a smaller person… well, you get the idea. Your own hand is a personalized (and portable) measuring device for your food intake.
True, some people do have larger or smaller hands for their body size. Still, our hand size correlates pretty closely with general body size, including muscle, bone – the whole package.
Planning your meals flexibly
Based on the guidelines above, which assume you’ll be eating about 4 times a day, you now have a simple and flexible guide for meal planning.
- 2 palms of protein dense foods with each meal;
- 2 fists of vegetables with each meal;
- 2 cupped hands of carb dense foods with most meals;
- 2 entire thumbs of fat dense foods with most meals.
- 1 palm of protein dense foods with each meal;
- 1 fist of vegetables with each meal;
- 1 cupped hand of carb dense foods with most meals;
- 1 entire thumb of fat dense foods with most meals.
Of course, just like any other form of nutrition planning — including calorie counting – this serves as a starting point.
You can’t know exactly how your body will respond in advance. So stay flexible and adjust your portions based on your hunger, fullness, and other important goals.
For example: if you’re trying to gain weight, and you’re having trouble gaining, you might add another cupped palm of carbohydrates or another thumb of fats. Likewise, if you’re trying to lose weight but seem to have stalled out, you might eliminate a cupped palm of carbohydrates or a thumb of fats at particular meals.
Remember: This is a starting point. Adjust your portions at any time using outcome-based decision making, aka “How’s that working for you?”