6 Portion Control Tips To Manage Your Weight

woman portion control salad

By  Deborah Moss, RD, CDN

It’s hard to miss that portion sizes have gotten larger in the last few years. This is true whether you are dining out or shopping at your local grocery store. Research shows that people unintentionally consume more calories when faced with larger portions.

One of the key ways to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight is through portion control. Here are some guidelines to help you avoid some common portion-size pitfalls:

1. Learn how much food a recommended serving size is. According the USDA, one serving equals:

  • 1 slice of whole-grain bread
  • ½ cup of cooked rice, pasta or cereal, 1 oz. dry cereal
  • ½ cup mashed potatoes or one small baked potato
  • 1 cup of raw leafy greens or ½ cup raw or cooked vegetable, ½ cup vegetable juice
  • 1 small fresh fruit, ½ cup fresh, canned or frozen fruit, ½ cup 100% fruit juice
  • 1 cup of milk, yogurt or 1½ oz. cheese
  • 1 oz. cooked meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup cooked beans, ½ oz. nuts or seeds
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp soft margarine or vegetable oil

2. Portion your meals by measuring them out. Although this can be tedious at first, you will soon be able to “eyeball” the amount of food on your plate and determine if this is more or less than the recommended serving size.  For example, try filling a measuring cup with the proper portion size of rice or cereal.  Then empty it on your plate or into your bowl.  This will help you learn what this serving sizes look like.

3. Order a smaller portion when out to dinner. You could also try splitting an entrée with a friend or ask your waiter for a “to-go” box to wrap up half of the meal as soon as it’s brought to the table.

4. Serve food on individual plates. When you’re eating at home, it’s easy to go for second or third helpings when the meal is placed on the table in easy reach.

5. Try healthy snacking. It’s a great way to keep your appetite in check between meals to avoid overeating at your next meal. When you reach for a snack, try putting the amount that you plan to eat into a bowl or container instead of eating straight from the package.  Continue reading below…

6. Practice mindful eating. Take your time when eating a meal and enjoy the taste and texture of the foods you are eating. And remember, everyone has a personal calorie limit. Staying within yours can help you get to or maintain a healthy weight.

Get your personal calorie limit and recommended servings per day of each of the five food groups at www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.


Deborah Moss 1Deborah Moss is a registered dietitian and certified dietetic nutritionist.  She is the owner of Natural Nutrition and Wellness, a private nutrition counseling practice that specializes in women’s health and wellness, specifically focusing on weight management and the integration of nutrition for disease prevention and management.  Deborah graduated from Queens College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition.  She completed a dietetic internship program through LIU, CW Post.  She has presented nutrition and wellness classes associated with diabetes, heart disease and weight management to numerous clients through corporate wellness programs.  Deborah’s goal in counseling is in helping others achieve a healthier and more balanced life.

For any diet and nutrition questions, contact Deborah at nnwellness.com!

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