3 Healthy Foods That Require Portion Control

Unfortunately, you can have too much of a good thing. The nutritional benefits of healthy foods can be lowered when you eat too much of them. Here are three foods you may be misestimating.



Nuts are packed with nutrients such as protein, fiber, vitamin E, folic acid, vitamin B6, zinc, copper, potassium, magnesium, and monounsaturated fats (which are the kind that can reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol). Nuts can sometimes get a bad rap because they are high in calories, but don’t shy away from them. Many studies show a correlation between nut intake and heart health.

The serving size of most nuts is one ounce. If you’re not sure what an ounce of nuts looks like, you’re not alone. A serving size is: 6-8 whole walnuts, 15 pecans, 24 almonds, 35 peanuts, 18 cashews, or 49 pistachios


Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is a convenient way to add vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants to foods like oatmeal and cereal. It also makes a great snack, but because it takes much less time to eat two tablespoons of raisins than it does a whole apple, people tend to overeat. A serving of whole fruit is one cup, while dried fruit is only ¼ cup.

Dried fruits are one food that fall under the “health halo” for many. This phenomenon is when a person overeats a food that they perceive to be healthy. You may be one of the many individuals who think, “It’s fruit, so another handful or two is reasonable.” Both the health halo and the convenience of dried fruit may cause you to underestimate how much you’re eating.


Sweetened or unsweetened, cereals are one of the most misestimated foods out there. Why? Perhaps is has to do with the fact that most cereal bowls are two to four times as large as the recommended serving size! You may be making a good choice by choosing Raisin Bran® over Reese’s Puffs, but fill up your bowl and you’ve got nearly 600 calories, not what you think you’re consuming!

Take a minute to measure your cereal bowls and see how what one cup actually looks like. This will help you better estimate in the future. Consider using a coffee mug to better control portion size.

Elizabeth BedellElizabeth Bedell Marino is a registered and licensed dietitian and the Coordinator for ProMedica Executive Health Program. For her full bio, please click here.