Summer means spending more time outdoors — both when exercising and dining. Whether you’re packing dried fruit to take on a hike or enjoying an ice cream cone, it’s important to keep portion sizes in check. “Once you have a concept of the right portion sizes you can log your intake more carefully, make better choices and support your health goals,” says McKenzie Jones, RD.
Here, she shares some of the most common portion-size mistakes for warm-weather foods and how to be more mindful:
Portion-size mistake: More than 1 cup
Reality check: 1/2 cup
Why getting it right matters: “While 100% fruit juice can supply several vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, it does not contain the filling fiber found in whole fruit,” says Jones.
The fix: Opt for whole fruit over fruit juice when possible. If you’re buying juice at the store, check the nutrition label to make sure there isn’t any added sugar and see how many servings are in the bottle so you can pour yourself the right amount.
Portion-size mistake: 1–2 cups or more
Reality check: 1/2-cup or about 1 scoop
Why getting it right matters: Ice cream tends to be high in fat and added sugar, making it a high-calorie food.
The fix: “Mindfully savor 1/2 cup of ice cream or lean into lower-calorie frozen desserts like Popsicles or sorbet,” suggests Jones.
Portion-size mistake: An 8-ounce steak or a 5–6 ounce burger patty
Reality check: Less than 3 ounces or about the size of a deck of cards
Why getting it right matters: “We tend to have a ‘more is better’ mentality toward protein, but overdoing it can result in extra stored fat.”
The fix: “Opt for lean proteins and leave plenty of room on your plate for a variety of foods like fruit, veggies and whole grains,” says Jones. You can also try incorporating more plant-based proteins into your diet like veggie burgers made with beans or grilled tofu.
Portion-size mistake: 1/2 cup or more
Reality check: 1/4 cup
Why getting it right matters: Because dried fruit does not contain nearly as much water as fresh fruit, it’s more energy dense and higher in calories.
The fix: “Try sprinkling dried fruit into homemade trail mix or using it as a grab-and-go snack on days your more active,” suggests Jones.