Food & nutrition

7 easy ways to control your portion sizes

Here's how to handle portion control when you have 24/7 access to the fridge.
Published 26 July, 2023

Feeling stressed out and being at home with round-the-clock access to your fridge is a tricky combination. But just because you have days' worth of food at your fingertips, that doesn't mean you need to fall off track with your wellness and weight-loss goals. Measuring out portions can help.

"Being aware of how much you are eating is a powerful weight loss tool, and intentionally controlling portion sizes is important," says Zoe Griffiths, WW's global director of nutrition. "Research has shown that when people serve themselves from larger packages of foods and beverages, they tend to eat more." And now that you're stuck at home, you may find that you have more opportunities than ever to supersize your servings. 

Whether you're digging into a bowl of cereal or bag of crisps, the portion control strategies below can help. And remember: portions are personal! The portion size that’s right for you depends on what you’re eating and how much you need to feel satisfied while staying within your Budget. 

The best way to determine your portion size is to do some measuring. With time, you’ll train your brain to serve up the right amount automatically. Start by putting the amount of, say, popcorn or pasta that you would normally eat into your usual bowl or plate. Then... 

1. Size it up

One of the benefits of being at home: easy access to measuring cups and spoons. Measure or weigh your portion using these or kitchen scales to help calculate the Points in your food. Also, split family-sized packs into smaller containers to avoid eating straight from the packet. Now you know how much you’re actually eating.

2. Use your hand

You've got a great portion estimator at hand - literally! Use the guide below when serving up meals and snacks. Of course, hands come in all sizes. If you're curious about how your hand size measures up, test out your estimations at home by comparing them with portions sizes from measuring cups.

3. Track it

Use your WW app to find the Points value. (Hint: the barcode scanner in the WW app is great for finding packaged foods.) How does this impact your Budget?

4. Decide what works

Does this portion size work well with your Budget? Remember you can bulk up any meal or snack with your ZeroPoint™ foods. By using a little less pasta and adding lots of sautéed veggies instead, you can enjoy a delicious dinner that’s lower in Points.

5. Downsize your crockery

Try serving your meals on smaller plates. A 2017 study found that smaller plates were associated with higher estimated satiation and lower estimated intake compared to larger plates. This is because a smaller plate increases the perception of food volume. In other words, a portion of food will look much bigger on a small plate.

6. Take your portion and move away

Instead of snacking in the kitchen, take your bowl to your desk, dining room or patio. You can always go back for seconds if you're still hungry.

7. Freeze leftovers straightaway

Almost finished cooking? Having Tupperware at the ready and popping any leftovers in the freezer is an effective way to avoid picking at them later.