When it comes to weight management, portion control is key in my opinion. If you can master it, you can lose weight on whatever diet you choose. If you don't master it, you can gain weight on any diet: high-protein low-carb, low fat, Paleo, or even vegan. There's a growing market for portion control tools, from food scales to single-serving silicone pasta cookers to plates swirled with cleverly depicted portion sizes. But sometimes the simplest things work best. I received a set of colorful PortionMate cylinders with an accompanying Nutrition and Meal Planning Guide to review. These were created by Susan Gougian from Pepperell, Massachusetts, who was looking for a quick way to measure her food. The six rings are made of BPA-free food grade plastic, with the diameters measuring from 1 ounce to 1 cup.
I was curious how accurate the measurement of the rings were, so I cross-checked them against my food scale and measuring cups...
There appears to be some variation in measurements, which probably depends on how tightly you pack in the food. If anything, the PortionMate rings overestimate portions (so that you eat less). I appreciate the simplicity of these rings as you can arrange them on a plate, fill with food, and then remove. It's a no-brainer and the small rings are easier to clean and store than other popular portion dividers that I've used to teach clients.
These are fantastic teaching tools for certain conditions like diabetes where accuracy of carbohydrate portions is vital. Most of us need re-education on proper portions of starches like grains, pasta and cereals as well as nutritious but high-calorie foods like nuts, seeds and dried fruit. After using these tools for a time, you will be able to visually recognize what portions should be of various foods so that you may not need to measure your food every time you eat. The Nutrition and Meal Planning Guide includes a quick calorie reference of foods within each group. Keep in mind that these PortionMate rings are also useful if you're trying to gain weight!
The cost is $14.95 per set and well worth the money. Click here for ordering info.