5 Strategies for Effortless Portion Control

5 simple strategies for effortless portion control to help you reach or maintain your healthy, happy weight.

5 Strategies for Effortless Portion Control - The Lemon Bowl

We made it to week three of the Healthy New Year 6-Week Challenge! How are you feeling? I am down five more pounds since Christmas so I would like to personally thank all of you for being so active with the #HealthyNewYear Challenge!

Healthy New Year 6-Week Challenge Logo - The Lemon Bowl

When Dara and I originally created a Facebook group for the challenge, we never imagined it would turn into such an active online community. We loving the daily interaction, success stories, and words of encouragement being exchanged in there so keep it up!

Since we’ve already tackled staying hydrated and being active, it’s time to move on to my next favorite subject: portion control. Ok I’m kidding, who loves portion control? I certainly don’t. And if you’ve read my weight loss story, you know that healthy eating was never a problem growing up – it was eating too much of that healthy food.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned losing over 65 pounds, it’s that you that you can not out train a poor diet. In fact, I often say that the secret to weight loss is 80% diet, 20% exercise. Don’t quote me on that, it’s just my hunch based on my personal experience.

Wall Squats - The Lemon Bowl

The good news? It’s a whole heckuva lot easier to eat clean and watch portions that do wall squats in boot camp. Ouch.

What are 5 strategies for effortless portion control?

Invest in Smaller Plates:

We eat with our eyes before we even take the first bite of food. I don’t know about you, but two tablespoons of hummus looks a lot less depressing on a smaller plate filled with veggies and seedy crackers. Dara recently introduced me to Q Squared NYC’s Round Ruffle collection and I am in love with the appetizer plates shown above.

Snack-Sized Bags:

We spend most mornings outside of the house at playdates or the gym so when we finally get home for lunch, the boys are frantic monsters ready for food and a nap, stat. Since I usually don’t get to sit down for lunch until 1pm or later, I like to keep snack-sizes baggies of nuts in my car to eat on the drive home. They are the perfect size for the one ounce portion of nuts.Snack Sized Baggies - The Lemon Bowl

Make Veggies the Star of the Show:

One reason I cook so much ethnic food is because it is often naturally more nutritious and vegetable-centric than the standard meat and potatoes American diet. Whether it’s these Chinese Chicken Lettuce Cups, a bowl of Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken and Cauliflower or a steaming bowl of Mexican Chicken Posole, find inspiration from around the world and make veggies the star of the plate.Chinese Chicken Lettuce Cups

Use a Food Diary for One Week:

Whether you are looking to lose weight or simply want to maintain, I am a big fan of using an online food diary. If you’ve never weighed out a 2 ounce portion of pasta or a 5 ounce glass of wine, you might be surprised to see what a proper portion looks like. (Another reason why I love the Ruffle collection from Q Squared NYC.) By keeping a food diary and measuring portions for just one week, you’ll be able to eyeball four ounces of chicken or a tablespoon of peanut butter making it easy to keep servings in check.Calorie Tracker - The Lemon Bowl

Cook At Home More Frequently: 

One of the hands-down easiest ways to ensure proper portions is to simply cook at home more frequently. No matter what, whenever you eat out you are likely going to consume more calories, fat, and sodium than you would have you prepared the dish at home. And if you’re looking for fun new dishes, I’d like to add that Q Squared NYC’s dishware is BPA-Free, made from high-quality melamine (toddler-proof!) and is dishwasher safe. I am crushing on the Victorian green plates!!Q Squared Victorian Collection

Weighing Nuts - The Lemon Bowl

Ok it’s your turn – what are your best tips for keeping portions in check? Do you take half of your meal home when you eat out? Split an entree with your spouse? Let’s hear your best ideas!

Your fork is waiting.

Photo of Liz Della Croce

Hi, I’m Liz!

Hey there, I’m Liz Della Croce and I’m thrilled to have you here! My aim is to motivate and ignite your passion for cooking amazing meals for your loved ones. I believe in the power of real, wholesome ingredients that are bursting with flavor and won’t break the bank. Whether it’s a traditional Lebanese recipe from my family or a culinary creation from across the globe, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover that nutritious food can be exciting, affordable, and easy to prepare.

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35 responses to “5 Strategies for Effortless Portion Control”

  1. Phi @ The Sweetphi Blog Avatar
    Phi @ The Sweetphi Blog

    LOVE all these suggestions Liz, and I love your facebook community so much!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Aww I’m so glad girl!!!

  2. Aggie Avatar
    Aggie

    smaller plates, more veggies & not going back for seconds!!! I love to eat. It’s so hard sometimes :)
    Great tips! And love those plates!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Tell me about it girl! It’s a daily commitment – that’s for sure. xo

  3. She Rocks Fitness Avatar
    She Rocks Fitness

    Great tips! I only eat out 1-2 times a week for health, but budget reasons also. It makes a huge difference. I am so bad with my portion control when it comes to nut butters…LOL…I always do a “spoonful” every morning. Hey there are worse things I could be eating! ;)

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      It’s so true – save calories And money!

  4. Nat Avatar
    Nat

    Great post as always Liz. I am always confused when it comes to ‘dry’ ingredients such as rice pasta and quinoa. What is a correct portion size? 2 oz raw or cooked?
    Would really appreciate some guidance with this. Cheers

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Great question! It’s 2 ounces uncooked. I like to weigh it because it’s hard for me to know what that looks like. :) Good luck!!

  5. Cookin Canuck Avatar
    Cookin Canuck

    There are so many fantastic tips here, Liz! Portion control is one of the hardest things for me, but is also one of the things that makes the biggest difference in how my body feels (and how my clothes fit).

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      It’s so true Dara – our clothes don’t lie!

  6. Gaby Avatar
    Gaby

    Thanks for the great tips!

  7. Jenny Flake Avatar
    Jenny Flake

    Great tips!! You are quite the inspiration girl! Love your motivation to lead a healthy lifestyle :) xo

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      You’re so sweet – thank you my friend! xo

  8. Mary Jo Avatar
    Mary Jo

    Thanks so much for sharing…great tips! I’ve been considering getting smaller plates, so now will follow through! Question…what are those seedy crackers? They look amazing! My portion control tip…my husband’s great aunt used to live with us, and at 102 she didn’t eat much. So now I’m trying to give myself what I would have given her, vs. what I normally portion for myself…amazing difference! It’s just a visual image that helps. You could also substitute the size of your kids portion for yourself, instead of Aunt Mary’s portion control system!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      They’re called “Mary’s Gone Crackers’ and we get them at Costco! They’re so good! Also I love your tip about Aunt Mary!!! My mom’s name is Mary so I won’t forget it!!

  9. Susan Avatar
    Susan

    I am a big fan of weighing and measuring portions. I haven’t been doing that much lately, and it shows in my inability to lose any more weight. I already use smaller plates when I can.

    My husband and I used to split portions at restaurants, but since we are trying to make sure we take in enough protein we no longer do that. But we do make sure to order things that are right-sized portions and lower calorie. The only time we end up taking food home is if we order pizza. Those are always too big for us to eat the whole thing.

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      It’s amazing how much a difference I notice on the scale when I start measuring and weighing again.

  10. Joanne Avatar
    Joanne

    I am ALL about the small plate trick!! It makes a HUGE difference. I also think that because I cook from scratch, I have a better idea (and control) over what a portion size should be. For instance, if I make something that’s four servings, then as I’m serving it, I mentally split it into quarters as I put it on each plate – and I DON’T go back for seconds!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Yes exactly – plus we are developing recipes and have to know the portion sizes. Good point!

  11. Chelsey Avatar
    Chelsey

    All great tips! And I love those plates…I have a feeling they’ll look great in pictures…I may have to get a few! Thanks, Liz!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      They are great in photos!! And so versatile for any occasion – huge fan!!

  12. KalynsKitchen Avatar
    KalynsKitchen

    Great post, I think everyone needs to stay constantly aware of this.

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Thank you Kalyn. You’re right – it’s something we do need to continually remember. It’s easy to slip back into old habits when we get lazy.

  13. Ashley @ Our Full Table Avatar
    Ashley @ Our Full Table

    I second it is what you eat! I’ve noticed since having baby number two the weighT JusT Doesn’t fall off like with number one. I’ve been watching my portions and only dessert once a week. I developed a serious sweet tooth after #2!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Girl. It has been SO much harder than with my first. Each time I lose the weight my body fights it more!

  14. Faith (An Edible Mosaic) Avatar
    Faith (An Edible Mosaic)

    Awesome tips, Liz! You are so right about smaller plates – they really help when it comes to being visually satisfied with a meal that’s still an appropriate portion!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Thank you Faith!!

  15. Maria Avatar
    Maria

    More great tips! Thanks for sharing! I like to use Caleb’s toddler tupperware and plates/cups because they are the perfect size for me too!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Oh my gosh that’s so smart Maria!!! They really are the perfect size – and fun to eat off of. :)

  16. Corry Oosterhouse Avatar
    Corry Oosterhouse

    Thanks for the great suggestions, Liz! I do take half my meal home when we go out to eat! I ask for a to go box right away, so I’m not tempted to eat more of it! The snack bag idea is great too. I used to do that a long time ago–measure or weigh the snack and write the points value on it. Then I’d put them in a basket on the counter. I need to do that again!!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Good for you Corry!! You are such an inspiration!!

  17. Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious Avatar
    Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious

    Very smart advice…every bit of it! I have often thought that about large/small plates. Will begin doing that immediately.

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Thank you so much Dorothy!!

  18. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness Avatar
    Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness

    I am so glad to not see “weigh all your portions on a food scale here” I started doing it, and have been trying to break the obsession for 3 years.
    BUT, I agree on smaller plates. Such a good tip Liz! Pinned!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Life is all about finding a healthy balance, Taylor!! And of course eating all the protein. ;)

Liz Della Croce eating black bean dip

Hi I’m Liz!

Hey there, I’m Liz Della Croce and I’m thrilled to have you here! My aim is to motivate and ignite your passion for cooking amazing meals for your loved ones.