Food & Nutrition

Top tips for weighing and measuring portions

This guide is so handy.

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 SmartPoints® Budget. Using tools like measuring cups and food scales makes it easy to dole out right-for-you portions when you’re at home. But toting those tools around when you’re out to dinner or at a party? That isn't going to cut it.

Luckily, no matter where you are, you've got a great portion estimator at hand—literally. Use this guide the next time you need to track a portion. 
Of course, not all hands are the same size, so it wouldn't hurt to measure yours against some measuring spoons or cups, just so you know what you're working with.
  • Your fist is about the same size as one cup of fruit or pasta.
  • Your thumb (tip to base) is the size of one ounce of meat or cheese.

  • Your palm (minus fingers) equals three ounces of meat, fish, or poultry.
  • Your cupped hand equals one to two ounces of nuts or pretzels.


Not sure how much you need to eat to feel satisfied?

The best way to learn that amount is to do some measuring. Over time, you’ll train your brain to serve up the right amount automatically. This week try weighing and measuring the foods you eat frequently, using these steps:
1. Serve yourself
What’s your typical portion? Whatever it is, dish it out. Put the amount of pasta you would usually eat into your usual bowl or plate. Then... 


2. Size it up
Measure or weigh that portion, using cups or a scale. Now you know how much you’re actually eating.
3. Track it
Use your WW app to find the SmartPoints value. (Hint: The barcode scanner on the top right corner of the My Day screen is great for finding packaged foods.) How does this impact your Budget?
4. Decide what works
Does this portion work well with your Budget? Remember that 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 SmartPoints.


Four simple portion tips


  • Take your portion and then put the rest away. You can always go back for seconds if you're still hungry. 
  • Eat on smaller plates or bring your lunch in a bento box. 
  • Go for built-in portion control: Buy individual servings of items—single serve ice cream instead of an entire gallon, for example. It may cost you a bit more but consider it a “health savings."
  • Don't match your food to your plate. Researchers at Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab found that people serve themselves 30% more food when the plate they’re using offers low contrast with the food in question—for example, serving white rice on a white plate. Try to choose plates that have a contrasting color to the food you’re serving.
Want more tips? Search #portioncontrol on Connect. (3,607 posts and counting!)