Using the Hand Method

When attempting to use your hands to build a plate, everything seems to make sense. You put a palm-sized chunk of meat on the plate, a large fist-sized pile of vegetables, a handful of carbs and so on based on your needs.

What happens though when attempting to build a menu with actual recipes? How do I apply these measurements to this excellent recipe I found online like sauteed Salmon and Spiced Cauliflower? The answer is to look at the ingredients and think about what you are putting together. I will give you an example of this with steps, but first, let’s look at what an average “hand” equals.

A palm of lean protein is equal to 20 to 30g of protein, 0 to 5g of fat, and 0 to 15g of carbohydrate. Examples are 3 to 4 oz of lean meat, 1 cup of low-fat dairy, or 6 to 9oz low-fat tofu.

A fist of vegetables is equal to around 15 to 20g of carbohydrate, 3g of protein and 0 to 1g of fat. Examples are 1 cup of vegetables or 2 cups of leafy greens.

A cupped hand of smart carbohydrate is equal to 20 to 30g of carbohydrate, 0 – 3g of fat, and 0 to 10g of protein. Examples are 1 cup of raw fruit, 1/2 cup dehydrated fruit, 1/2 cup of oats, or 1/4 cup of quinoa.

One thumb of healthy fat is around 7 to 12g of fat, 0 to 10g protein and 0 to 15g carbohydrate. Examples are 3Tbsp of chia seeds, 1 Tbsp of olive oil, 1.5 Tbsp natural peanut butter, or 1/8 cup of walnuts.

What happens though when attempting to build a menu with actual recipes?

How do I apply these measurements to this excellent recipe I found online like sauteed Salmon and Spiced Cauliflower? The answer is to look at the ingredients and think about what you are putting together. I will give you an example of this with steps, but first, let’s look at what an average “hand” equals.

Steps to determine portions for a home-cooked meal:

  1. Remove the spices and herbs as they are insignificant.
  2. Remove water & broths (use low-sodium or homemade)
  3. Total and break down the ingredients into the protein sources (meats, dairy, plant sources), vegetables, smart carbohydrates, and fats.
  4. Correlate the servings to hand sizes
  5. Adjust the meal as needed for your requirements or adjust other meals within the day to meet total hand size portions.

So for our example, the recipe has the following:

Salmon:

  • Salmon Fillet 6oz
  • Turmeric 1 pinch
  • Fennel 1 pinch
  • Salt 1 pinch
  • Pepper 1 pinch
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • Honey 1 tsp

Spiced Cauliflower

  • Baby Carrots 1/2 cup
  • Cauliflower 1 cup
  • Water 1/4 cup
  • Peas 1/2 cup
  • Walnuts 1/4 cup
  • Salt 1 pinch
  • Peper 1 pinch
  • Cinnamon 1 pinch
  • Safflower 1 pinch
  • Olive oil 1/2 tbsp

Okay so after we go through the first three steps we now have:

  • Protein: 6oz of salmon = 2 palms
  • Vegetables: 1 cup cauliflower + 1/2 cup carrots + 1/2 cup peas = 2 fists
  • Smart Carbs: 1 Tbsp Honey = 1 cupped hand
  • Healthy Fats: 1/2 tbsp olive oil + cooking spray + 1/4 cup walnuts = 2 thumbs

As you can see the process has a few steps, but it is possible to total the ingredients and assign hand sizes to complete meals. Remember that you round the hand sizes based on your actual hand. For example, a 9oz steak is two palms for a larger person like a 225 lbs soldier and three hands for a smaller person like a 130 lbs endurance athlete. i.e., a palm is 20 to 30 grams based on a continuum, small humans eat closer to 20, and larger humans eat closer to 30.

Related Articles

Athlete Recovery

Athlete Recovery Hydrotherapy While hydrotherapy has become widely incorporated into post-exercise recovery regimes, information regarding these interventions is mostly anecdotal. The human body does respond…

Training Slow, Racing Fast!

Over the years there has been a lot of controversy in endurance sports and athletics about training methodologies in regards to intensity. There is High-Volume Training (HVT) also know as Long Steady Distance (LSD), Low-Intensity Steady Training (LIST), Threshold-training (THR), High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Polarized Training (POL) and other concepts. I mention LIST separate from LSD as LIST is a “moderate” intensity workout.