Everyday Portion Control

Helpful hints for practising portion control while on the go, at work or dining out.
Published September 6, 2022

Do you feel like you’ve mastered portion control at home using tools like measuring cups and food scales? Now, what about if you are at a social event, dining out or at work all day?

These are the situations where portion control can get a little tricky, and depending on your life, you might run into these situations a lot. No need to worry, we’ve rounded up some helpful tips to make portion control on the go a little easier.

Portion Control While Dining Out

A Handy Guide

You may have seen this guide to portions before, but it really is handy! (Pun intended). It can be very useful to gain a visual understanding of portion sizes when eating out. Additionally, the more you measure at home, the easier it’ll be to gauge accurate portions when you’re eating out.

  • Your fist is about the same size as 1 cup of fruit or pasta.
  • Your thumb (tip to base) is the size of 1 ounce of meat or cheese.
  • Your palm (minus fingers) equals 3 ounces of meat, fish, or poultry.
  • Your cupped hand equals 1 to 3 ounces of nuts or pretzels.

You can also refer to this guide to get a good idea of serving sizes.

Of course, not all hands are the same size, so just measure yours against some measuring spoons or cups, to know what you're working with.

Smarter Ordering

Restaurant portion sizes can often be more than double the average serving size of a similar food item. With some creativity and conscious choices, you can make portion control work while dining out.

  • Choose still or sparkling water for your drink - portions don’t just mean food. A lot of calories and sugar actually come from our drink choices.
  • Check the portion size of an item or ask staff for sizing before ordering.
  • Ask if you can order a half portion. Or order a starter and a side instead of a main dish. You can even share a main with someone.
  • Ask for a to-go box when you get your food. It might feel a bit strange asking for a box earlier in the meal, but it can help you portion out your meal and put the rest out of sight and out of mind.
  • Track some meal options! Figure out what the Points value will be and how it affects your overall budget.

At Work

Portion control at work can actually be a lot easier than you might think. The most important thing you can do is to bring your own packed lunch. Prepare lunch ahead of time in the comfort of your kitchen, with all the measuring tools you need. Pop your meal into portioned containers and you will have perfectly portioned meals ready to go at lunchtime. Planning ahead also allows you to pre-track your lunch!

Here are some more resources for perfectly portioned recipes and meal preparation.

  • Here is how you can prepare healthy food for the whole week.
  • Our favourite pre-portioned WeightWatchers recipes!

Other Social Situations

Here are some other tips for making portion control work with other social situations outside of the house:

  • If you’re at someone else's house for dinner, serve yourself. This allows you have control of the portions being placed on your plate.
  • Don’t eat right out of the container. It’s so much easier to overeat if you eat straight from the source. Try using small bowls or bags to portion out snacks.
  • Whenever you measure and serve yourself, take a mental snapshot: "Here's what one cup of couscous looks like. This is a teaspoon of butter." Then no matter where you're eating you'll feel more confident in your ability to eyeball the right size.