A handguard for plastic bags and like carrying items having thin loop-type handles which includes a planar palm guard member connected by a U-shaped bridging member to a finger guard portion. In vertical elevation, the palm, bridge and finger guard form a J-shape assembly. The handguard further includes a planar keeper which is joined at its upper edge to an upper end region of the palm guard to form a rigid hinge which forces the planar keeper outwardly in a sprung-open position so that the lower edge of the keeper is retained by the upper edge of the finger guard portion. In use, the handguard is held generally vertically in the user's hand with the palm portion resting against the user's palm and the U-shaped bridging member supported by the user's fingers. The loops of the plastic grocery bags are then picked up so that they are received within the trough of the U-shaped bridge member. The keeper flap is sufficiently flexible so that it is very easy to slip the grocery bag loops into the handguard yet is normally biased to the closed position to ensure that the handguard will not become unintentionally separated from the bag handles when the bag is set down.