I am a calorie counter, and I am also a data hound, so nutrition tracking accuracy is pretty important to me. I most often use a food scale to weigh my food, because it’s the most accurate form of measurement, especially when you’ve got irregularly shaped food. (For the life of me I have no idea how to measure “1 cup” of leafy greens. Do you measure loosely? Do you cram it in the measuring cup and ruin the structural integrity of your crispy romaine? No clue. But I do know that 3 ounces of baby spinach is a LOT! 😀
If you don’t have a scale or don’t care as much about super accuracy like I do (I was laughed at once when I used the jewelry scale at work to weigh out 1 ounce of potato chips), here are some handy dandy tips for keeping your portions in check.
Keep standard cup size bowls in your house for snackage. I grabbed a bunch of 1 cup plastic snack bowls from Target which are perfect for a portion of ice cream (which is a mere half cup, people) or a serving of potato chips. I also have a variety of ramekins and small glass bowls like these:
Just because these bowls are intending for cooking doesn’t mean they can’t be used for eating! The ramekins are 4 oz or 1/2 cup, and the glass prep bowls are even smaller, perfect for an ounce of nuts.
Another fun thing you can use for portioning is a muffin tin! Full size muffin tins can be used to make individual meatloaves, or egg fritattas for breakfast, or healthy banana bread muffins! There are millions of options.
If you have trouble keeping your hands out of the bag of snacks, portion them out into small containers or snack baggies and mark them with the calories. This may deter you from going overboard, and makes it easy to grab a quick snack.
For serving things like mashed potatoes or rice, why not try a disher? A disher is a thing that looks a lot like an ice cream scoop, but they come IN SPECIFIC SIZES. Makes it super easy to portion out stickier food or make perfectly sized cookies.
Lastly, your plate is really important. If you check out my Instagram page, my plates always look really full. That’s because I use 8-9 inch plates as opposed to a full sized 12 inch dinner plate. This is important. Research shows that if we eat a normal amount of food on a large plate, and the plate doesn’t look full, our brains tell us that the food won’t fill us up.
That plate up above with two little ham and egg muffins? That plate is a mere FOUR INCHES in diameter. It takes some algebra, but the area of a 12-inch plate (113 square inches) is nearly DOUBLE the area of a 9-inch plate (64 square inches). So while you may put a reasonable portion of food on a large plate, your brain will tell you that you need more food.
See? The black circles in that image are the same size, but I betcha your mind is telling you the black circle on the right is larger, isn’t it?
Hopefully these tips help you keep your portions in check, but I’m always looking for ideas for portioning things out, so if you have any good ones, please tell me in the comments!