How Much? Portions 101

Explore easy ways to serve yourself just the right amount.
Bowl of cerealTopic Of the Week

Q: What’s the difference between a 1-ounce piece of cheddar cheese and a 2-ounce piece?
A: 3 PointsPlus® values!
(That ounce can make a big difference.) Getting portion sizes right is often more than meets the eye, as you discovered in the quiz in your Weekly. Yet it's key to helping you lose weight and keep it off. At home, sure, you can whip out your handy measuring cups and spoons, and food scale to dole out perfect portions of just about any food, drink or ingredient. But toting those tools around when you’re out and about? Yeah, not gonna happen.

During your meeting this week, you'll see how first eyeballing and then actually measuring servings (your Leader may have used the nifty Portion Plates in the member Starter Kit) compares — usually to the detriment of the eyeballed amount! This kind of exercise can help you become a portion pro. Once you know what the right serving size looks like, you can (stealthily) use visual match-ups to be your measuring tools anywhere, anytime. So, when you're home this week, weigh and measure your food and beverages—there are lots of great tools for solids, liquids — and wine!.

Train your brain to recognize the right size
You'll find that the more you size up your servings 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 one cup of couscous looks like. This is a teaspoon of butter." Then no matter where you're dining — the office cafeteria, a food court at the mall, or your favorite Chinese buffet — you'll feel more confident in your ability to eye the right size. If you need specific ideas, the list below is a good place to start. And share a few of your own pointers below in the Comments section at the end of this article.

On the go
Lip balm/lipstick1-ounce serving of cheese
Folding wallet1-ounce slice of French bread
Sunglasses 6-ounce fish fillet
At a sporting event
Hockey puck½ cup serving of ice cream
Golf ball¼ cup of nuts
Baseball1 medium piece of fruit
Tennis ball1 cup serving of rice
In the office
Paperweight½ cup of beans
Standard pink eraser1-ounce serving of cheese
2" x 2" self-stick note1 brownie
At a restaurant or hotel
Tea cup1 cup of cooked pasta or rice
Half an orange½ cup of coleslaw
Mini bar of soap1-ounce serving of cheese
On a business trip or vacation
USB thumb drive DVD/CD1-ounce serving of cheese
Name tag3-ounce serving of meat
DVD/CD Large bagel or 1 pancake

More easy ways to keep portions in check wherever you happen to be:

Frozen assets
Frozen assets
Put the big chill on everything from pesto sauce to cookie dough. Freeze your way to portion control with these tips for storing serving-size amounts of meals, ingredients, and more.
Portion Estimator
A hand-y help
It’s a little awkward to pack a measuring cup in your bag. A better way to size up your food when you’re out and about? Use your hand. The Weight Watchers Portion Estimator shows you how—your thumb is about a tablespoon, for instance.
Pasta abbondanza!
Pasta abbondanza!
Yes, Baked Ziti and Weight Watchers go together nicely. Our recipe ladles on the mozzarella, tomato sauce, and Parmesan cheese, but skimps on the PointsPlus® values.
Next week’s meeting topic: Why scheduling your meals can help you lose.


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