10 Tips: When it Comes to Portions, Size Matters!

When it comes to portion control, size definitely matters.

It’s no secret that weight release is the most common New Year’s resolution, but taking advantage of portion control is one of the best tactics to employ.

There’s a difference between portions (what’s on our plate) and servings (what’s recommended), and most of us are getting way too much of some things… and not nearly enough of others.

Here are few tips to help you ring in 2011:

  1. Opt for smaller plates. We tend to fill our plates to their capacity, and by using a smaller plate – you’re likely to put less food on it. It’s a simple trick that works wonders at buffets or holiday parties. And in your own house, use 8 or 10-inch dinner plates instead of 12 inch. {Insert inappropriate innuendo here.}
  2. When saving leftovers, freeze food in individual portions. When you reheat the food – you’ll only be defrosting what you need, and thus less likely to overeat.
  3. Just take a few bites. I’m officially obsessed with nibnobs. I love cake – but it’s obviously terribly unhealthy. A slice of red velvet cake, for example, can have 550 calories and 27 grams of

    Perfectly portioned nibnobs.

    fat. Recognizing the importance of portions, nibnobs are bite-sized desserts… and they are totally satisfying, even for the sweetest of sweet tooths. I’m even bringing a plate to my parents’ house for New Year’s day.

  4. Divide your plate in half. Fill one half with veggies and/or fruits. Fill the other half with a mix of proteins (like meat), and starches (like rice, potatoes, etc.).
  5. Buy individually portioned snack foods. Instead of buying a huge bag of chips, buy smaller bags. It will prevent mindless munching. If you’re looking to be economical, buy larger bags of food but divide portions up in baggies. Never eat directly from a big bag!
  6. Keep junk foods out of sight. Office workers who kept candy in clear dishes on their desks dipped in for a sample 71 percent more often than those who kept their candy out of sight. But keep healthy foods, like veggies (carrot sticks!) and fruits readily available. A fruit basket on your kitchen table can work wonders.
  7. Don’t mix food and TV. You wouldn’t drink and drive and neither should you eat food and watch TV. It’s much harder to watch portions while zoning out in a good television show.
  8. Use visual cues to estimated recommend servings. A deck of playing cards = one serving (three ounces) of meat, poultry, or fish. Half a baseball = one serving (one-half cup) of fruit, vegetables, pasta, or rice. Your thumb = one serving (one ounce) of cheese. A small hand holding a tennis ball = one serving (one cup) of yogurt or chopped fresh greens.
  9. Split desserts at restaurants. It cuts calories and builds relationships!
  10. Ask for dressings, spreads and sauces on the side. Most restaurants are far too generous in their condiment portions.

Obviously, portion control isn’t the be all and end all of weight release; it’s just one tool of many, but it can be a super helpful and effective dimension of a bigger plan.

What portion control tips do you have? Share them in the comments below!

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. Davey — excellent suggestions! I especially like the “small plate” suggestion. Frequently, when I go to a restaurant, I just order an appetizer.

    I do have a question regarding calorie intake that I was hoping you might help me with. I’m a short guy (5’2″) and could afford to drop around 30 lbs. I have a relatively sendentary lifestyle, and am curious as to how many calories I should take in per day. Obviously too many is bad, but I understand too few can be counterproductive as well.

    Any thoughts?

  2. Oh man, that time of the year again! I just finished off a box of dark chocolate truffles. Plan to slam back a few (or more) beers tonight, and then off to the gym tomorrow.

    Smart eating begins tomorrow-ish. Promise.

  3. The smaller plate thing absolutly works! I also love that you’re encouraging small portions of things you love- prevents you from splurging later on a big one.

  4. davvi-roehl(ray l) says:

    Gr8 advice Davey(Jonathan) and i luv Travis Fimmell in the loe-rise POUCH-front,CK brief! 😛 Happy 🙂 New Year to “everyone” here! xo _ davvi

  5. davvi-roehl(ray l) says:

    Davey(Jonathan), thank you 😉 for virtually “Everything” that you say and do! xo _ davvi-roehl(ray l)

  6. You always have the best pictures to accompany your blogs.

  7. heres a tip.. PUT DOWN THE FORK!! hahaha!! have a little self-control..
    moderation is a good place to start… just because there is a huge plate of hor d’oeuvres on the buffet doesnt mean you should eat the entire plate… jeez….

    ~ happy new year…

  8. Julie Murdock says:

    On the topic of portion control (critical on Weight Watchers for me)…my nutritionist introduced me to a new product which has just come out, but it’s hard to find in stores. I ordered it online from http://www.PortionControl.net since they offer free shipping. It’s definitely a why-didn’t-I-think-of-that product, and it really helps me with daily portion control, while making my cooking easier and tastier. I LOVE THEM. It’s really a nifty idea, and I recommend it if you like cooking at home but are struggling with eating right

  9. Good advice, Jonathan. :>)

  10. Lol well what i usually have for breaky is pretty controlled but i doubt you would like it davey 1 bit of toast vegimite no butter(yeah you get use to not having it) and 1 boiled egg sliced ontop. lol im Aussie as it gets lol ahahaah….

  11. Thanks for the reminder about leftovers (freezing individual portions). I live alone and often get frustrated with healthy recipes because they frequently feed 4. Some of the recipes can be divided down to prepare a single serving. But your reminder about leftovers gave me the idea of preparing the dish for 4 people, eat one portion and freeze the rest. THANKS!!

  12. Yay! just what i was looking for 😀 yeh i’ve heard the small plate theory millions of times, i’m going to do this because my parents make mounds of food and it’s just far far far too much. Thanks for motivating me Davey i am more focused thanks to you.


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