Plating Proper Portions

October 1, 2009 | Featured in the October 2009 Issue

Must See Nutrition Videos

Failing to fuel with proper portions can be problematic when working to maximize training and achieve body composition goals, since the latter is a direct result of the balance between calories consumed and calories expended through exercise. And when you’re trying to build muscle, you need to fuel properly throughout the day. Otherwise, your body will break down muscle to perform daily functions.

Often times, athletes not only have a hard time remembering what they ate and when, but also how much they packed onto their plates. Eating a larger volume of one nutrient or food impacts the plate’s total nutritional value. Take, for example, a serving of pasta. One cup of pasta is one serving, which is about 200 calories, 40 grams of carbs and seven grams of protein. But a typical serving of pasta at a restaurant is three cups, loading your plate with three times the aforementioned nutrients. If you’re unaware of appropriate portion sizes, it’s likely you’ll eat more than one serving.

Filling up with triple the amount of a recommended serving size allows for less room to include a lean protein source, fruits, vegetables or a low fat dairy source, and throws off the overall balance of your total daily consumption.

Here are a few guidelines to gauge proper portion sizes. When a restaurant dishes more than the suggested portion, divvy up your meal and keep the leftovers for later.

• 4-5 oz protein source [meat, poultry or fish] = deck of cards
• 1C carb source [e.g., pasta, rice, dry cereal] = tennis ball
• 1 tbs butter = thumb-size
• 1 oz cheese = 4 dice
• 1/4C nuts = enough to fill the palm of your hand

A suitable daily nutrient breakdown for a 170-pound athlete is as follows: 3,000 to 3,500 calories 100 to 140 grams of protein [15-25% of each meal] 500 to 650 grams of carbohydrates [50-65% of each meal] 80 to 110 grams of fat [20-30% of each meal]

Ideally, you should consume this through three meals plus two to three snacks, with each meal consisting of 800 to 1,000 calories [see sample meal breakdown below] and each snack 200 to 400 calories. This breakdown will balance how you consume calories and nutrients throughout the day.

Food Amount Calories Carbs Fat Protein
Spaghetti [cooked] 1C 197 40 1 7
Chicken breast, [skinless] 5 oz 156 0 2 33
Broccoli [cooked] 1C 55 11 1 4
Olive oil ½ tbsp 60 0 7 0
Marinara sauce ¼ C 36 5 1 1
Part-skim mozzarella cheese 1 oz 72 1 5 7
French bread 1 med slice 175 33 2 6
Chocolate milk, low fat 8 fl oz 158 26 3 8
TOTALS 908 116 20 65

Erika Whitman, RD, CSSD, serves as the sports dietitian at the University of Notre Dame. 

Topics: DIET
Must See
Why You Should Never Doubt Colin Kaepernick Why You Should Never Doubt Colin Kaepernick
Views: 20,819,120
Dashon Goldson: Dashon Goldson: "You Just Gotta Have Heart"
Views: 5,064,359
Skylar Diggins Attacks the Off-Season On and Off the Court Skylar Diggins Attacks the Off-Season On and Off the Court
Views: 6,946,391

Featured Videos

Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Views: 20,495
Greg Nixon's Full-Body Dumbbell Circuit Greg Nixon's Full-Body Dumbbell Circuit Views: 317,794
SEALFIT: Pushing the Limits of What Athletes Are Capable Of SEALFIT: Pushing the Limits of What Athletes Are Capable Of
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 6,081,054
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,928
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,919,945
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,869
Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose
Views: 3,539,411

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Post-Holiday Chocolate Health Benefits

Post-Holiday Chocolate Health Benefits

If you are looking to justify some indulgences this holiday season, scientists have uncovered health benefits from eating chocolate (health) which might...

Quick On-the-Go Breakfast Ideas

Quick On-the-Go Breakfast Ideas

4 Endomorph Diet Strategies to Accelerate Fat Loss

4 Endomorph Diet Strategies to Accelerate Fat Loss

Game-Day Nutrition for Soccer Players

Game-Day Nutrition for Soccer Players

The Soccer Tournament Nutrition Checklist

The Soccer Tournament Nutrition Checklist

Are 'Healthy Chips' Really Healthy? 5 Popular Options Examined

Are 'Healthy Chips' Really Healthy? 5 Popular Options Examined

Bone Broth Breakdown: Should You Eat This 'Super' Soup'?

Bone Broth Breakdown: Should You Eat This 'Super' Soup'?

Simple Nutrition Tips for Faster Workout Gains

Simple Nutrition Tips for Faster Workout Gains

Fuel Your Performance with Peas

Fuel Your Performance with Peas

The Right Way to Gain Weight During the Off-Season

The Right Way to Gain Weight During the Off-Season

Why Are People Drinking Charcoal?

Why Are People Drinking Charcoal?

Why Every Athlete Should Drink Tea

Why Every Athlete Should Drink Tea

3 Tips to Eat Healthy on a Budget

3 Tips to Eat Healthy on a Budget

How 100 Pro Athletes Like Their Eggs

How 100 Pro Athletes Like Their Eggs

Halftime Snacks for Quick Refueling

Halftime Snacks for Quick Refueling

The Nutrition That Powers Joe Thomas's Iron-Man Streak

The Nutrition That Powers Joe Thomas's Iron-Man Streak

Macronutrients, Part I: Carbohydrates

Macronutrients, Part I: Carbohydrates

How to Build a Meal Plan to Suit Your Body Type

How to Build a Meal Plan to Suit Your Body Type

Types of Yogurt: What's New and What's Best for Athletes

Types of Yogurt: What's New and What's Best for Athletes

Russell Wilson Wants You to 'Eat the Ball'

Russell Wilson Wants You to 'Eat the Ball'

5 Changes Fast-Food Restaurants Are Making to Become Healthier

5 Changes Fast-Food Restaurants Are Making to Become Healthier

Performance-Boosting Snacks with a Satisfying Crunch

Performance-Boosting Snacks with a Satisfying Crunch

How Can Zero-Calorie Diet Soda Be Bad for You?

How Can Zero-Calorie Diet Soda Be Bad for You?

Are Chokeberries the Next Super Food for Athletes?

Are Chokeberries the Next Super Food for Athletes?

Surprising Muscle-Building Snacks

Surprising Muscle-Building Snacks

Eat Like a Champion, Part 2: How to Lose Fat Safely

Eat Like a Champion, Part 2: How to Lose Fat Safely

Is It Okay to Eat the Same Thing Every Day?

Is It Okay to Eat the Same Thing Every Day?

What You Need to Know about Fats

What You Need to Know about Fats

What You Need to Know About Protein

What You Need to Know About Protein

How to Turn Nutrition Goals Into Actions

How to Turn Nutrition Goals Into Actions

Eat Like a Champion, Part 3: Post-Workout Nutrition

Eat Like a Champion, Part 3: Post-Workout Nutrition

Big Breakfast, Small Breakfast, No Breakfast: Which Is Best?

Big Breakfast, Small Breakfast, No Breakfast: Which Is Best?

Study Ranks Paleo As Second-Worst Diet

Study Ranks Paleo As Second-Worst Diet

Why Your Gut Might Be the Most Important Part of Your Body

Why Your Gut Might Be the Most Important Part of Your Body

How and Why to Eat Mindfully

How and Why to Eat Mindfully

Why Chicken Soup Strengthens Your Immune System

Why Chicken Soup Strengthens Your Immune System

Feed for Speed: 5 Foods and Supplements That Make You Faster

Feed for Speed: 5 Foods and Supplements That Make You Faster

Fuel Up for Soccer Like the U.S. Women's National Team

Fuel Up for Soccer Like the U.S. Women's National Team

Avoid Pigging Out: How to Conquer Food Cravings

Avoid Pigging Out: How to Conquer Food Cravings

12 Grab-and-Go High Protein Snacks

12 Grab-and-Go High Protein Snacks

8 Recovery Foods Recommended by Sport Dietitians

8 Recovery Foods Recommended by Sport Dietitians

YardBarker