13 Portion-Control Tools to Help Dieters Slim Down for Less
A New Year's resolution to lose weight and establish healthy habits may seem to demand a pricey diet plan. But there's a simpler -- and cheaper -- approach: portion control. As portion sizes in America have increased over the past few decades, so have rates of obesity and other related health problems. A key part of maintaining a healthy weight is eating right-sized meals that meet daily caloric requirements. These portion-control tools measure recommended serving sizes for frugal dieters seeking a helping hand.
For those who dine at home and share entrees family-style, this portion-control tool measures food right on the plate. The four sections follow the U.S. Department of Agriculture's recommended serving sizes for fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, and protein. (There are also halfway markers inside the cups.) More than 1,000 reviewers posting on Amazon rate this product 4.1 stars overall, and many comment that they didn't realize how much they were overeating until they tried this plate. It comes in blue, yellow, white, or red and is dishwasher-safe.
This portion-control tool is designed for on-the-go assistance. Six rings, which measure out exact portions from 1 to 8 ounces, nest inside each other and fit easily into a purse or backpack. The rings are dishwasher-safe and come with a nutrition and meal-planning guide that includes calorie counts for more than 500 foods.
Prepping and bringing lunch to work saves calories and money compared with eating out at restaurants with large portion sizes. The Bentology Portion Perfect Weight-Loss Kit simplifies that effort. Removable compartments hold measured portions of protein, carbohydrates, vegetables, and fruits, as well as healthy fats such as salad dressing (three of the containers have lids). The kit also includes a booklet with meal plans, menus, and workout routines. The containers are American-made and BPA-free, and they come with a one-year guarantee.
For those looking to keep leftovers fresh or take a meal to work, Precise Portions Go Healthy Portion Control Plates come with leak-proof lids. Three sections separate vegetables, meat, and grains. The plates are made of a durable plastic that is dishwasher-safe and BPA-free.
BlueAvocado reusable storage bags are designed to help divvy up individual portions of healthful snacks. They come in a range of sizes and present a green alternative to plastic bags. Each bag has a double-lock seal, is freezer-safe, and contains no BPA or PVC. Tote around nuts, dried fruit, or raw veggies, to name just a few diet-friendly options.
Pasta is all too easy to overeat. Dole out the correct size for a single serving of noodles with a dishwasher-safe pasta basket. You can dunk the silicone basket right into a pot of boiling water to cook one portion, or use several to prepare a family meal. The basket can also be used to steam vegetables or fish.
Parties with large spreads can seem like a challenge for dieters. Balance out endless bowls of food with portioned serving spoons. Two spoons measure vegetables and starches, and a spatula measures protein (about the size of a deck of cards). Serving sizes are discreetly noted on the head of each spoon.
Kids are notoriously obstinate when it comes to eating all their fruits and vegetables. MyPlate divided plates from Super Healthy Kids encourages children to consume a balanced diet. They come in two styles: one with three sections and one with four. Either way, about half the plate is designated for fruits and vegetables. The remainder is divided into sections for whole grains (one-third cup) and protein (one-quarter cup) -- serving sizes in line with USDA recommendations for ages 2 to 8.The plate is dishwasher-safe and BPA-free.
Prepping dinner for a big family can be a hassle, but an 8-ounce one-piece solid portion spoon can dole out proper servings for each person. Reviews mention the sturdy handle, and how the spoon helps with portion control and dieting. The dishwasher-safe spoon is made of stainless steel and is available in smaller measurements (1 to 6 ounces).
Brown baggers will enjoy eating perfectly portioned meals out of the Smart Planet Portion Perfect Lunch On The Go container. It's split into four 1-cup portions of meat, vegetables, fruits, and grains. The containers are safe in the freezer, microwave, and dishwasher and easily collapse for packing and transport.
Even the thrifty tools on this list are unnecessary if you know a few tricks for gauging proper portion size. WebMD matches a range of foods with everyday objects that approximate one serving. Any red meat on the plate should be no bigger than a deck of cards, for example, and a single serving of ice cream is about the size of a tennis ball.