Tuesday’s Tips – Portion Control 101

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“Clean your plate!” How many times did we hear this growing up? As adults we still tend to do exactly that. Unfortunately, we don’t practice good portion control and we over eat by an average of 25% per meal meaning too many calories and too much fat in our diets. None of us grew up learning about or even thinking about portion control.

Portion control can sometimes be confusing, 3 ounces of protein = the size of a deck of cards but not all foods can be measured that way. A serving size of cereal is 3/4 cup yet we tend to eat twice that without giving it any thought.

This photo is an example of recommended portions per meal, meat weight is after cooking.  For women (the left row) – 3oz meat, 1/2 cup carbs, 1/2 cup vegetables. For men (the right row) 5oz meat, 1 cup complex carbohydrates, 1 cup vegetables. Everything you see is perfect for any diet. Your are looking at lean pork, turkey burgers, lean flank steak, chicken Italian sausage, quinoa (keen-wa), sweet potatoes, mixed veggies and green beans.

Getting control of portion control
So what’s the easiest way to get a clear handle on portion control? Read the labels and measure or weigh your food, every meal, every snack. Once you do this for a couple of weeks you will be able to eyeball it. Also pay attention to the room left on your plate , this will help you when you are in a situation that does not allow you measure.

Do an experiment for a couple of days. Plate your meals like you normally would then on a separate plate add the same food with the correct portion amount based on the package, a scale and measuring cups. You may be very surprised at what you see.

The USDA food pyramid and portion guideline  is a very good guideline but it’s just that, a guideline. Men and women require different calories and portions vary depending on your individual needs. If you want to maintain your weight and you are physically active your needs are different than someone who is over weight and out of shape.

Doing the best thing for you
Over the past several years nutritional experts have been telling us to eat 5 smaller meals through out the day and they are right. By doing this, you not only wake up your metabolism but you keep it running all day. My husband and I have lost 50 lbs combined by eating 3 smaller meals and 2 properly balanced shakes or small snack a day. I figured out how many calories/fat etc we need for each of us each day to lose weight at a healthy rate without starving ourselves. I then broke that down into 3 meals and 2 snacks (shakes) and proportioned our meals accordingly. Until our bodies got used to this I added more vegetables to our plate to fill us up. Vegetables are  pretty much a free food in any eating/diet regimen. Our bodies adjusted very quickly.

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  1. Jamie Gonzalez says:

    Im doing my meals based on 300 calories and can not tell you how surprised i was at how much 300c actually is. so far between watching what im eating and working out ive lost 6lbs, cant tell you how great this challenge has been for me. thank you.

  2. This looks great for someone wanting to lose weight (I guess), but what about those of us who are considered underweight but have issues with excess in the wrong places? That is where I have my problems.
    I have health issues that prevent strenuous workouts which means no sit-ups or anything that will put too much pressure on the neck, back or hips. I need to tone these little toothpick legs something terrible and the arms that are becoming flabby but I need to LOSE the belly fat and the (what I call back fat or bra rolls).
    When I try eating less to help lose the belly all that happens is I lose weight and still have the excess in the places I don’t want it. Not to mention I stay hungry!!

    I have not been able to find anything on the net about what to do in situations like mine, they all seem to be about losing weight, not getting it out of the wrong places and into the right places.

  3. Renee, when i was in the military I got injured and had a cast on my wrist, also hurt my knee and was put on a no strenuous PT regiment for it seems like forever. Alternatives that I was given was speed walking to get my heart rate up, also something called flutter kicks (i don’t recommend these cause they’re a killer), and also pool activities. Swimming is actually really good for those with limited activities that they can do. Maybe if you can hit up the local recreation center swimming pool for lap time or even water aerobics, that could help you as well. I am of average weight as well. I watch what i eat, don’t do a strenuous workout but I have the baby flab I’d love to get rid of.

    Those are my suggestions to everyone.

    • I love the suggestions Vicki but we don’t have any indoor pools where I live now unfortunately. I use my ski machine (the real old fashioned one can’t find them like it anymore and I need a new one!!) Can’t use the treadmill anymore cause of the knee but the ski machine seems to work better anyhow for me, but………it’s not doing anything to get rid of the belly and back fat and not seeming to be toning up the arms. Maybe I’m just not doing it long enough or faithful enough and will see an improvement before Spring!!
      That’s one reason I’ve really enjoyed the warmer winter (until today!!!) we’ve had for being able to do the hiking. using the walking stick to take the weight off the knee when going up the hills has seemed to help be toning the butt :) lol

  4. Elaine Spink says:

    Thanks for sharing! It was food to see the pictures along with the recommendations of how many oz or size of the side dishes! :)

  5. Hey Renee, I hope u see this. A couple of my friends have started taking coconut oil for belly fat. It is not a liquid oil, but rather more like crisco. Apparently you are just supposed to eat a couple spoons of it everyday. That say it really doesn’t taste bad either. I haven’t done any research on it, but they are getting it based on a nutritionists advice. Check it out!

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