Whether eating at home or in restaurants; it is hard to miss the portion sizes that have steadily been growing larger over the years.
An individual bag of chips can easily feed an entire family; a small coffee at your favourite cafe is enough to keep you awake the entire day! Most people try to lose weight by counting calories but they forget to account for their food portion sizes.
Controlling weight is not just about choosing the right kinds of foods but also as much about how much you eat at a time. In fact, based on my experience, so called dieticians and nutritionists fail to talk about portion control completely. It is also too easy to misjudge correct portion sizes.
Most weight watchers even tend to confuse “serving sizes” with “portion sizes”. So, in today’s guide, I am going to talk about how you can easily lose weight by controlling portions by eating just what is enough for you.
I have also reviewed some of the best portion control containers, plates, tools, bowls and utensil sets to help you on your weight loss journey.
Why Diets Fail
An average dieter in Australia starts and fails 4 diets every year and nearly 90% of diets fail because of a simple reason - lack of strategy.
Most dieters lose an average of 3 kilos before they start gaining weight again. These fad diets are not sustainable because people fail to use a combination of strategy and tactics when it comes to losing weight.
By using simple tactics (such as eating fewer carbs, moving more and other well known ones) you can definitely lose weight. But, if you want this weight loss to be sustainable one, you need to have a strategy.
An essential part of your strategy for weight loss is portion control. Choosing healthy portions can help you lose weight and also maintain your ideal weight. With portion control you get to eat a little of every food group instead of depriving yourself. There is no elimination of food so you get to taste a little of everything you love.
Australian Food Guidelines for Portion Control
A vast majority of Australians eat portions that are larger than those suggested in the national Food Guide. Based on these guidelines, a standard serving size is about 75 grams with following standards:
- 1 serve of vegetables is equal to 1/2cup cooked green or orange veggies or 1 cup green salad vegetables or ½ cup corn, ½ medium potato or other starchy vegetables.
- 1 serve of fruit is 1 medium apple/banana/orange/pear; 1 cup dried or canned fruits, 2 small kiwis or plums or apricots.
- 1 serve of grain/cereal is 1 slice bread, or ½ cup cooked porridge, or 2/3 cup wheat cereal flakes, 3 crispbreads or 1 crumpet or 1 small scone or English muffin.
- A standard serve of protein includes 2 large eggs, or 170 g tofu, or 30 g nuts or 100 g cooked fish fillet or 65 g cooked red meat or 80 g cooked lean meat.
- A standard serve of dairy includes 1 cup buttermilk or ½ cup evaporated milk, ½ cup ricotta cheese or ¾ cup yogurt or 1 cup soy/rice/nut milk/cereal drink.
USA Food Portion Guidelines
To compare USA food guidelines with Australian ones, I am including the food servings given by USDA:
- Milk, yogurt and cheese- 2-3 servings (1 serve is 1 cup milk or 1-1/2 oz cheese, 2 oz processed cheese)
- Vegetable -3 to 5 servings (One serving is equivalent to 1 cup raw leafy vegetables, ½ cup cooked vegetables or ¾ cup vegetable juice)
- Fruits- 2 to 4 servings (1 serving is equal to a medium apple or banana, ½ cup chopped/cooked/canned fruit or ¾ cup juice)
- Bread-Cereals-6 to 11 servings (1 serve is 1 bread slice/1 tortilla/ 3-4 small crackers/or ½ cup cooked rice or pasta).
Size Does Matter: How to Portion Size Your Plate?
Fill up half your plate with vegetables. Choose a colourful assortment of fruits and vegetables.
Fill up quarter of your plate with proteins. Choose low fat or lean proteins like fatty fish, chicken or turkey as these are good for your waistline. Select methods like broiling, baking or grilling instead of frying.
Fill up the remaining quarter with starchy food. Choose whole grain starches like yams, whole grain breads, brown rice or pasta.
Here are the basic guidelines pertaining to “cup” and “tablespoons”.
- 1 cup = 1 baseball
- ½ cup = 1 light bulb
- 1 oz or 2 tbsp = golf ball
- 1 tbsp = 1 poker chip
- 1 slice of bread = 1 cassette tape
- 3 oz chicken = 1 deck of cards
- 3 oz fish = 1 cheque book
- 1 oz meat = 1 CD (compact disc)
- 3 oz muffin = 1 hockey puck
- 1 ½ oz cheese = 3 dice
Serving Size Versus Portion Control
Serving sizes vary from food group to food group. It is the amount of food listed on a product’s label whereas a portion size is how much food you choose to eat at home, in a restaurant or from a package.
In most cases, portion size and serving size are not the same. For example, on the food label of your favourite Mac'n Cheese brand, the serving size may be listed as 1 cup.
If you make yourself a large bowl of it, your portion size is definitely much bigger than this one serving size. The same is true about cereal. Most people think they are eating healthy when they are eating cereal, which is true but not when your portion size is huge.
You are the judge when it comes to choosing your portions. You get to decide how much you eat relative to the serving size on the food label.
Tips for Choosing Healthy Portions
- Eat breakfast every day.
- Eat 3 balanced meals daily. They should contain at least 3 food groups from above guidelines. Vegetables and fruits should constitute a large portion of your meals.
- Make snacking-healthy veggies, fruits, low fat dairy are some good options.
- Embrace protein shakes. They can fill you up and help you to suppress your appetite. Invest in a quality protein shaker or blender bottle so you can measure and mix your powder perfectly.
- Avoid eating before the TV or while working at your computer.
- Stop eating when you are not hungry.
- If you are eating high calorie foods like cookies, chips etc, take only a small portion and keep away the bag.
The following is a review of 20 of the best portion control tools to help you in your weight loss goals.
1. Efficient Nutrition Portion Control Containers Kit (7-Piece) with Complete Guide, 21 DAY PLANNER
What s it: This 7 piece colour coded system is #1 Best Seller on amazon. It is BPA free and allows you to maintain portion control for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
You just need to match your colour to your food plan.
- These portion control containers come with handy shopping list for easy grocery shopping.
- They are easy to store and durable.
- They also come with a money back guarantee.
- This kit conforms to the 21 day fix plan as well as Efficient Nutrition plan.
- They are Microwave and dishwasher safe.
- No teaspoons included.
- Some users found the quality inconsistent.
- The recipe cards and eBooks are not included as shown in pic.
2. Vremi Olive Oil Dispenser
What is it: This is a wonderful portion control product for weight loss.
It has a slow pour spout, measuring reservoir, an easy-to-clean canister and an oil pump that dispenses measured quantity of oil.
Here is a link to Vremi Olive Oil Dispenser on Amazon.
- Vremi oil and vinegar dispenser is a wonderful addition in your range of portion control containers.
- It offers no drip pouring and has a silicone pump to blend oil and vinegar or other ingredients. You won’t waste any oil again!
- Its 17 ounce capacity ensures you never over-dress your salads.
- The glass dishwasher safe bottle is easy to clean and disassemble.
- Some users experienced leakage of oil.
- Once the rubber top is damaged or torn, you cannot use the product again. Look after the dispenser!
3. Jokari Healthy Steps Portion Control Diet / Weight Loss 3pc Snack Set
What is it: It is 3 piece cookies/nuts/cereal scoop to add to your range of portion control containers.
You will never go wrong with your portion sizes with this wonderful food portions.
Jokari Healthy Steps allows you a little indulgence without breaking your diet plan.
Check out the Jokari Healthy Steps Portion scoop on Amazon.
- Love cookies but do not want to go overboard? Jokari Healthy Steps to the rescue! The easy to scoop, press and release action ensures you do not add more calories than you need.
- The scoop also comes with spatula on one end to scrape bowls.
- Works for all types of cereals.
- The nut bowl allows you to snack without overindulgence.
- Dishwasher safe.
- Not enough product reviews at the time of writing this review.
4. Portion Control Kit from Precise Portions – Complete Glassware & Porcelain 1 Place Set
What is it: One of the best portion control tools to aid your weight loss efforts (with exercise!).
Avoid overeating and eat the right nutrients to enhance your weight loss efforts.
- Unlike other portion control bowls and plates, this set is made with porcelain. So it is completely BPA free and safe for microwave use.
- You save time and energy planning your meals - your weight loss efforts become a lot easier when you know the right foods to eat in the right quantities.
- The portion control kit from precise portions is made using guidelines from the American Diabetic Association and USDA.
- Comes with plates, bowls and glass.
- You also get resources and information to aid your weight loss efforts.
- As advertised, you do not get placemats, scoopers and coasters.
- Slightly more expensive compared to other portion control tools.
5. EatSmart Precision Elite Digital Kitchen Scale for Portion Control
What is it: When you decide to use portion control for weight loss, apart from portion control containers, bowls and glasses, you also need a food measuring scale.
The EatSmart Precision Elite Digital Kitchen Scale is a lightweight, easy-to-store and easy-to-use scale to add to your range of portion control tools.
It makes portion control and calorie counting super easy.
It's available on Amazon. Get more details here.
- Lightweight with a large display.
- Comes with 4 AAA batteries.
- Has a 15 lb capacity but also weight ounces and grams.
- Accurate and sensitive to the smallest change.
- For some users, the display was not accurate.
6. Portion Control Plates Set of 4
What is it: Portion Control Plates from Home Buddy USA are portion control containers divided into 3 sections and are perfect for adults and kids to reduce overeating and sugar intake.
You can buy them here.
- They are BPA free and eco friendly.
- This set comes with a free eBook.
- The 9” plates come with a lid and are safe for microwave and dishwasher use.
- Conform to diabetic and weight watcher guidelines.
- It is difficult getting odours out of the product.
- Some users found the lids do not fit properly.
7. Prepara Healthy Eating Trigger Oil Sprayer for Kitchen and Grill
What is it: If you use oils in your cooking but are concerned about the quantity you eat, then the Prepara Healthy Eating Trigger Oil Sprayer is a must have for your kitchen.
Used for a variety of oils, Prepara allows you to control the amount of oil used on salads, for grilling, sautéing or shallow frying.
This convenient oil sprayer is available on Amazon.
- Works for different oils as well as vinegar
- Comes with an oil mister for fine mist or spray of oil.
- Great for portion control and healthy cooking.
- Does not work on melted butter-difficult to clean up after.
- Mister does not work as well as it is meant to. Some people found that the nozzle came out when they put a little pressure on the trigger.
8. Uno Casa Bowl Set With Spoons
What is it: Uno Casa Portion Control Serving Bowls is a truly amazing.
This portion control rack set that comes with attractive, vibrant colourful bowls and measuring spoons.
The ceramic bowls and spoons take off the guesswork from the meal preparation and also measuring food when you are dieting.
- Promote healthy eating habits.
- Helps prepare meals with ease.
- Makes eating fun healthy and easy when dieting.
- Simple, clutter free design.
- Easy to wash and maintain.
- They are freezer safe and can use them in high temperatures.
- Perfect for dips and salad dressings when you entertain.
- Some users found them ‘tiny’ but isn’t that what portion control is all about?
9. Healthy Steps 10-Piece Portion Control/Weight Loss Utensil Set
What it is: This is a 10-Piece Portion Control/Weight Loss Utensil Set for proteins, cereal and veggies.
You can prepare properly portioned sizes without having to worry about calories. It may be used for making cookies as well as serve sauces.
There is also a vinegar and oil dispenser which measures the exact amounts of recommended portions of olive oil etc.
Start your day right with the cereal scoop. Get more details here.
- Pieces are sturdy n easy to use. All come with definite markings so you can take the guesswork out of counting calories.
- The utensils are BPA free and safe for washing in dishwasher top rack.
10. Meal Measure Portion Control Set
What is it: This is a portion control container that lets you measure your food right on the plate.
It also comes with a matching pill box for travel which has 8 compartments.
- Washes great, easy to use and store.
- Convenient to use and takes the guesswork out of measuring.
- The pill box is great for those weight watchers who are taking pills or fibre supplements for their diet.
- Looks great!
- Pill box does not hold supplements and they topple over and spill into other compartments –useless for travel.
11. The Fine Life Ideal Olive Oil Mister Air Pressure Clog-Free Sprayer
What it is: Named "#1 in Best Oil Misters" (March 2015 and March 2016), this gadget will not disappoint you.
The Fine Life Ideal Olive Oil Mister uses air pressure so it does not need any batteries.
Chefs, cooks, weekend barbecue warriors say they love it and I'm sure you will too. Get yourself 1, 2, 3 for your kitchen, RV, boat now and make sure you check out the promotions!
- FDA-Approved BPA-Free air pressure system eliminates smelly chemical propellants from your food.
- "SO glad it's not glass!" - safe on any surface.
12. Portion Perfection Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Portion Control Plate
What it is: Portion Perfection Weight Loss Portion Control Bariatric Surgery Plate is a wonderful portion control tool for those who have undergone weight loss surgery.
It lets you monitor your food intake so you can adjust easily to your new post-surgery lifestyle.
This plate is also very helpful for those looking for weight loss and weight maintenance.
- Mess free and simple way to measure food and practice portion control.
- The container bowl is dishwasher safe
- It comes with convenient measurement markers.
13. PortionMate - Meal Portion Control Rings and Nutrition Tool
What is it: This is a perfect portion control tool (meal and measure tool) for those who have had a gastric bypass/duodenal switch or gastric sleeve surgery.
The rings are also used by those who are overweight and want to avoid overeating.
It comes in set of 6 colour coded sleeves ranging in size from 1 to 8 ounces. You also get a 64 page nutrition guide with it.
Get this simple and effective portion control system on Amazon.
- Known to minimize overeating especially for people who have undergone bariatric surgery
- Made with food grade BPA free plastic.
- Some users found these to be too much work.
14. Jokari Healthy Steps Portion Control Pasta Basket
What is it: This is a clever gadget that is ideal for steaming and portion control of pasta, fish or vegetables.
You can measure, cook and strain any type of pasta without going overboard with the portions.
- These are collapsible silicone baskets of varying depths.
- Safe for top rack of dishwasher.
- Made in USA.
- Promotes weight loss and also helps maintain weight.
- Holes are too small for rice.
- Does not work well for spaghetti - you need to break the noodles for them to fit in the basket.
15. Meal Prep Haven 3 Compartment Food Containers with Airtight Lid, Bento Box, Fitness Lunch Box for Meal Prep
What is it: I promiss you will love Meal Prep Haven 3 Compartment Food Containers.
These containers are designed with durable plastic and a double-snap seal and airtight lid to prevent your food from spoiling and spilling. It’s an excellent tool for meal prepping AND weight loss!
Each bento lunch box stores a total of 32 oz. of food, helping you to maintain your weight through simple portion control. Works great in conjunction with 21 day fix or any other diet plan.
Each bento-style container comes with 3 compartments to ensure that you can take a complete meal with you in just a single container. Separated compartments also prevent cross contamination to ensure that your meals stay fresh for the week ahead!
Meal Prep Haven offers you a lifetime guarantee so you can be sure you are buying a high quality product.
Each compartment measure out to the following: 18 ounces, 8 ounces, 8 ounces.
Check out the reviews by over 2000 happy customers and order Meal Prep Haven on Amazon .
- You can use the Meal Prep Haven no matter what diet you are following.
- The containers are BPA free, microwave safe, freezer safe, and dishwasher safe (top rack) so you can use them again and again.
- High quality product.
- None! Meal Prep Haven containers are built for meal preppers, by meal preppers, that's their motto.
16. Meal-Trax Portion Control Dinner Plate - Set of 2
- None whatsoever!
17. Portion Control Zip Lock Plastic Bags for 100 Calorie Packs of Snacks and Nuts
What is it: Nuts are perfect for snacking when you are trying to lose weight. These Zip Lock plastic bags should not be mistaken for your ordinary plastic bags as they are marked so you eat just the right quantity without going overboard.
- Customize your own snack bags to carry to work.
- Each bag is marked with ¼, ½ , ¾ and 1 cup markings.
- Ideal for people who do not like bulky containers.
- Reusable and PABA free.
- Few testimonials at the time of writing this review.
18. Yum Yum Dishes™ Portion Control Bowls
What is it: Beautiful and attractive, these portion control bowls prevent over eating.
The best part; they double up as portion control containers to carry to work or on travel.
Here is a link to the Yum Yum bowls on Amazon.
- Dishwasher, and microwave safe ceramic material.
- Look very attractive.
- These portion control bowls come with lids so your food remains spill proof when you carry it to work.
- Yum Yum dishes portion control bowls also double up as kids and toddler bowls.
- Not completely unbreakable.
- Over priced.
19. Yum Yum Dishes™ 9 Plates Are the Ideal-Sized Portion Control Dinner Plates
- Ceramic plates are safe for dishwasher and microwave.
- The words ‘Over’ are inscribed on the plate to help you in your weight loss efforts.
- Ideal for serving to guests as well.
- Not too many user testimonials at the time of writing this review.
20. Portion Control Wine Glasses
What is it: Control your wine and alcoholic beverage intake with these portion control wine glasses.
These glasses come with crystal clear glass material and 4/6/8 ounce markings. This way, you need not worry about over drinking again at celebrations!
- Sturdy and thick. Safe for dishwashing. The base is nice and steady so your glass does not rock like common wine glasses do.
- The markings are discrete, so once you have a coloured beverage inside, they are really not visible.
- Perfect to gift at weddings or to wine lovers in general.
- Some users found it too heavy and clunky.
The amount of calories you eat affects your health and weight. Apart from selecting the right foods, do make it a habit to look at how much you eat.
Choosing healthy foods and sensible portion sizes can go a long way in helping you manage weight and even aid in weight loss. I hope the above review of 20 portion control containers, bowls and tools help you control your food intake. Good luck!