Portion Control Tips for Weight Loss – Why Measuring cups don’t work

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Portion Control Tips
If your weight loss has stalled, maybe portion control is to blame? Check out my portion control tips. Will any of these work for you?

What is your main hurdle to weight loss or maintenance? My main weight-maintenance stumbling block is portion control.  Sometimes, I find I just don’t want to take the time to measure out a portion. However, almost every time I’ve noticed my clothing getting tighter, I have either not been tracking as often or not measuring my food. Of course, not measuring makes accurate tracking impossible.

  1. Kitchen Scale

    Domestic Corner Kitchen Scale
    Weighing food with a kitchen scale is the best way to ensure portion control

    When measuring food, I’ve found it’s better to use the smallest unit possible.  Most foods include the volume measurement (cups, tablespoons, etc) and either grams or ounces.  Or, they include the number in a serving, followed by the grams.

    However, when you are measuring out chips, crackers or some other snack, using the weight is more accurate. For example, how do you count a bunch of broken crackers?

    Weighing by ounces isn’t as accurate as weighing grams, either.  Why? Well, about 28 grams make up an ounce.  If you weigh something that is barely over an ounce, say 30 grams, most scales will still weigh that as an ounce.  Doesn’t sound like much?  Just two extra grams of peanut butter contains 12 calories.

    Why not just use measuring cups?

    Has guesswork and confusing nutrition labels sabotaged your weight loss goals? Check out my portion control tips to help get you back on track.

    Also, sometimes, a manufacturer’s estimate of how much a half a cup of their product weighs isn’t accurate.  Check out the video below to see an example.  The snack maker claims that half of a cup of their product weighs 30 grams and has 150 calories.  When I weigh out 1/2 a cup, it’s almost a full half a serving over!  That’s an additional 75 calories! Over the course of a day, those little calories add up.  A good, basic, kitchen scale is a must! Check it out in the video below or watch my portion control tips video on YouTube.

    My main caveat here: You don’t need an expensive kitchen scale.  You need one that measures grams, pounds, and ounces.  Kilograms or millimeters are nice, but honestly, I never use either function.  Also, look for a tare feature so you can zero balance your container.

    My first kitchen scale cost over $50.  I dislike it because the unsealed buttons allow food debris to get trapped.

    Last week, I replaced mine with this inexpensive scale from Domestic Corner.  So far, I’m liking it.  This kitchen scale features an auto-shut off, is accurate up to 11 pounds and down to one gram.  Compared to my much more expensive scale, it’s just as accurate.  But it only cost about $13 on Amazon.

    Oh! And the sealed buttons keep food debris from gumming up the buttons.  I feel like a special sucker for spending so much more on my other scale.  Live and learn.

  2. Measured Portion Control Wine Glasses

    Wine Trax Portion Control Wine Glasses
    Wine-Trax Portion Control Wine Glasses –

    Wine contains about 24 calories an ounce.  A four-ounce serving, a mere 1/2 cup, adds almost 100 calories to your day’s calorie intake.  Can you pour a four-ounce serving by eyeball?  Honestly, I don’t know many bartenders that can pull that off.

    About a year ago, our son found the solution! Our oldest son bought David and I set of these Wine-Trax portion control wine glasses for Christmas a year ago.  We enjoyed them so much that we bought a second set.

    Do you see the stripes around the glass?  Yes. Decorative.  Modern.  Elegant.  Useful!  Each etched line represents a different measurement: 4, 6, or 8 oz.  Unlike many other portion control wine glasses, these aren’t labeled with calorie or ounce markers.  Bonus! Everyone in the room doesn’t have to know I’m tracking the liquid calories.

  3. Freezer portion meals

     Do you have leftovers often?  Since I am usually cooking for just David and I, we usually have lots of leftovers.  I used to just dump all the leftovers into a bowl and stick them in the freezer.  We’d just serve ourselves out of that container the next day.  I found I rarely portioned them out, so was probably eating more than I thought.

    To solve this, I got these three compartment Prefer Green Bento Boxes and these LIFT single compartment containers.  Since I am portioning out meals onto our dinner plates anyway, I just divvy up the leftovers into these boxes.  Both BPA-free sets are freezer-, microwave-, and dishwasher-safe.

  4. Snack bags in sealable container

    When I want a snack, I rarely want to take the time to measure out the goods.  Buying conveniently pre-portioned snacks is an option.  However, these foods are usually highly processed in addition to being overpriced.

    I prefer to buy my snacks in bulk, weigh them out into snack-sized zipper bags.  And then, I store them in air-tight canisters to prevent staleness.

This review does include Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. However, I never suggest products I do not use myself.

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Happily married to the love of my life. It's just us, our 5 cats, and our beautiful woods. I'm loving living back in the Florida panhandle being close to family. I love cooking, living a healthy lifestyle, taking care of our cozy home, and trying new things.

We enjoy hosting parties and my husband and I are both avid gamers. You can find me on PS4 as SunshineFlaGirl. We also play tabletop RPGs and eurogames.


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Alicia Taylor

Happily married to the love of my life. It’s just us, our 5 cats, and our beautiful woods. I’m loving living back in the Florida panhandle being close to family. I love cooking, living a healthy lifestyle, taking care of our cozy home, and trying new things.

We enjoy hosting parties and my husband and I are both avid gamers. You can find me on PS4 as SunshineFlaGirl. We also play tabletop RPGs and eurogames.

34 Comments

  • Marielle Altenor

    August 17, 2016 - 11:08 am

    When I used to work outside of the house I always had snack-sized zipper bags with my favorite snacks in my bag. Now that I am home I tend to binge eat a lot! I need to start adding snacks in the little bags again for portion control!

    • Alicia Taylor

      August 17, 2016 - 11:11 pm

      I notice when I am at home, I sneak into bad habits much easier. These little snack bags are a lifesaver. I buy them from Sam’s in bulk, now!

  • Elizabeth O

    August 16, 2016 - 7:38 pm

    True, portion control is the dieter’s Achilles heel. I have a kitchen scale that I stopped using but, as your post highlights, I do understand how it can be helpful. Nowadays, I’m for moderation in all things and a solid exercise routine.

    • Alicia Taylor

      August 17, 2016 - 9:18 am

      I completely agree with moderation in everything and the solid fitness routine.

  • Ave Hla

    August 16, 2016 - 11:51 am

    I really like the idea of buying snacks in bulk and weigh them out into snack-sized zipper bags. Those portion control wine glasses would make a really great gift for wine lovers.

    • Alicia Taylor

      August 16, 2016 - 2:43 pm

      Those glasses work well for any liquid, actually. For example, if you want just 8 oz of OJ, you can see where that is – and it looks pretty in the glass!

  • CourtneyLynne

    August 16, 2016 - 10:55 am

    These are some great tips!!!!!! Sticking to a weight loss plan can be tough!

    • Alicia Taylor

      August 16, 2016 - 2:42 pm

      Portion control is the key. Once you make it a habit, it’s much easier

  • Ashley

    August 16, 2016 - 9:29 am

    Great tips! I love my kitchen scale.

  • carissagarabedian

    August 15, 2016 - 8:36 pm

    Measuring is important and these are great ideas to help keep us on task to reach goals

    • Alicia Taylor

      August 16, 2016 - 9:43 am

      Thanks 🙂 It’s worked for me!

  • milenabarrett

    August 15, 2016 - 8:14 pm

    I have a kitchen scale and it truly helps with portion control. I didn’t realize how much I was eating until I began to measure.

    • Alicia Taylor

      August 16, 2016 - 9:44 am

      I agree. I did a fun experiment, before I started officially losing weight. I would eyeball what I thought was a reasonable portion. Next, I measured what I poured. I was amazed at how much I was eating!

  • Neely (@Neelykins)

    August 15, 2016 - 4:11 pm

    This is so helpful. My biggest issue is portions. Eyes bigger than my stomach all the time!

    • Alicia Taylor

      August 15, 2016 - 5:10 pm

      I love to eat. Know what you mean!

  • Liz Mays

    August 15, 2016 - 3:12 pm

    I really like your ideas! I can definitely see how a measuring cup could be misleading. I need to use a scale!

    • Alicia Taylor

      August 15, 2016 - 5:10 pm

      It definitely threw me for a loop that it was THAT far off!

  • littlemisscant

    August 15, 2016 - 3:07 pm

    We are currently on the 21 day fix so we are using containers plus the food scale. I find that it’s easier to get too many carbs and not enough fruit and veggies so portion control is really important.

    • Alicia Taylor

      August 15, 2016 - 5:12 pm

      It’s a great tool! If you look through my recipes, most of them aren’t high in starchy. I am not gluten-free or any fixed diet, but I found I prefer to not eat it. I sub veggies (cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles) for starchy stuff.

  • Jaime

    August 15, 2016 - 1:38 pm

    The only thing I don’t really measure are vegetables and certain fruits. The rest is so tricky! I love the glasses that measure the wine, though. We could definitely use a set in my house.

    • Alicia Taylor

      August 15, 2016 - 2:31 pm

      I even measure them – not to limit them, but I try to make sure I am getting enough fiber. The only I can do that is to measure them.

  • Jennifer Brazil

    August 15, 2016 - 1:31 pm

    These tips are very useful! I need to get a set of those wine glasses with the lines on them. I have often wanted a glass of wine but worried so much about calories and how much I was getting in a typical wine glass!

    • Alicia Taylor

      August 15, 2016 - 2:31 pm

      They are so simple and pretty. I love that they look decorative.

  • Laura B

    August 15, 2016 - 1:05 pm

    Portion control is key for me because I usually do a terrible job when eye balling. However I’ve never used a scale to measure and I’m shocked at the big difference between using a measuring cup and a scale. I think I need to invest in a scale!

    • Alicia Taylor

      August 15, 2016 - 2:32 pm

      Honestly, I was shocked, too! I didn’t really show it on the video. I was expecting a few grams off – but 1/2 a serving? That blew me away!

  • Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    August 15, 2016 - 7:25 am

    I struggle with portion control more than anything. My eyes are definitely bigger than my stomach.

    • Alicia Taylor

      August 15, 2016 - 10:41 am

      Mine too, sometimes – and I LOVE to eat!

  • Michele

    August 15, 2016 - 1:25 am

    Portion control is really hard–I just guesstamate–not a good way I know. That scale sounds like a good investment as so the bento boxes- am single and leftovers are always a problem!

    • Alicia Taylor

      August 15, 2016 - 10:42 am

      It has been for me. So are the wine glasses. I don’t drink often, but they are also useful for other beverages.

    • Alicia Taylor

      August 15, 2016 - 2:33 pm

      Cooking for anything less than 4 is a real pain with the leftovers.

  • loisaltermark

    August 14, 2016 - 11:17 pm

    These are great tips and I need to look into some of those tools. It’s so hard to stick to healthy portions.

  • Judy Inglett

    August 12, 2016 - 10:29 am

    Loved this blog! It was very interesting and full of great tips.

    • Alicia Taylor

      August 13, 2016 - 11:34 am

      Thank you 😀 I am so glad you found it helpful!

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