Today our portions are all distorted. Many of us are unsure of how much we should be eating and many of us don't really know what a "normal" portion is. It is really easy to overeat in today's society with restaurants often serving twice the recommended amount.
Standard silverware spoons/tablespoons, plates, cups and bowls are not accurate for measurement because they all differ in size. And just "eyeballing" a portion can cause us to underestimate — especially in our own favor. Studies have shown that up to 80 percent of people underestimate what they are eating by as much as 40 percent.
Take the guesswork out of portion control by investing in some (or all) of these handy kitchen tools. Each of these tools will help you stay accountable to yourself, to a healthy plan of eating, and will help you to fuel your body with the correct amount of food, insuring you don't under- or overeat.
Measuring Cups Invest in measuring cups to help you portion out servings. Wet and dry ingredients, however, have different volume measurements, so they require different measuring cups for accuracy.
* Liquid measuring cups are almost always clear glass or plastic and most have a pouring spout.
* Dry measuring cups usually come in sets of four, with individual measuring cups for 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and 1 cup. Dry measuring cups come in all different shapes, colors and themes, from metal to plastic and from hearts to Hello Kitty. Most have handles and each cup is flat and even on top to ensure correct measurement.
Measuring Spoons Use measuring spoons for oils and fats such as butter. Measuring spoons are great for dishing out just the right amount of condiments such as guacamole and sour cream. They are also great for measuring salad dressing and nut butters.
Food Scale Protein is usually measured in ounces/grams, therefore a food scale is more helpful when you need to measure and weigh solid foods such as meat, fish and poultry. Make sure to measure your protein source after it's been cooked and the bones have been removed.
Portion Control Plates To make portion control even easier, check out portion control plates, which are plates that have areas sectioned off for each food group. These plates help people see how much of each food group they should be eating from. There are also different types of portion control plates for people with different dietary and caloric needs such as diabetics and children.
*Check out Healthy Plates, which offers portion control plates with serving sizes based on the daily recommendations suggested by the Department of Health and Human Services. The plate is divided into three sections: 1/2 fruits and vegetables, 1/4 whole grains, and 1/4 lean protein. Click here for the USDA Dietary Guidelines.