Perfect Portions

Help yourself! Dishing up appropriate amounts can help you stay on track
Published April 28, 2016

Getting serving sizes right is often more than meets the eye — yet it’s one of the keys to helping you lose weight and keep it off. Using tools like measuring cups and food scales makes it easy to dole out perfect portions of just about any food, drink or ingredient when you’re at home. But toting those tools around when you’re at a party, picnic, backyard barbecue, food festival or any other deliciously dangerous event simply isn’t practical.

There are tricks you can use though. Use your guess-timating skills and brush up on portion equivalents so you can easily (and often stealthily) use visual match­ups anywhere, anytime. When you’re home this week, weigh and measure your food and beverages. The more you measure, the more natural it will feel. 

Train your brain to recognize the right size
You’ll find that the more you measure at home, the easier it’ll be to gauge accurate portions when you’re eating out. So whenever you measure and serve yourself, take a mental snapshot:

“Here’s what 250 ml of couscous looks like. This is 5 ml of butter.” Then no matter where you’re dining — the office cafeteria, a food court at the mall, or your favourite Chinese buffet — you’ll feel more confident in your ability to eye the right size. And if you need a few ideas, the list below is a good place to start. Remember though, one of the keys to making healthy habits like this one stick, is to find out what works best for you.

On the go

Lip balm 28-g serving of cheese
Folding wallet 28-g slice of French bread
Sunglasses 170-g fish fillet

At a sporting event

Hockey puck 125-ml serving of mashed potatoes, beans, or ice cream
Golf ball  60 ml of nuts
Baseball  one medium piece of fruit
Tennis ball 250-ml serving of rice

In the office

Roll of transparent tape one small piece of fruit
Standard pink eraser  28-g serving of cheese
5 cm x 5 cm self-stick note one brownie

At a restaurant or hotel

Tea cup 250 ml of cooked pasta or rice
Half an orange 125 ml of coleslaw
Mini bar of soap 28-g serving of cheese

On a business trip or vacation

CD/DVD large bagel or one pancake
USB thumb drive 28-g serving of cheese
Pocket digital camera 85-g serving of meat