Products That Take the Guesswork out of Portion Control


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  43 comments   :  40,071 Views

By Beth Donovan (~INDYGIRL)

I didn’t lose 145 pounds overnight. It took many baby steps to change my lifestyle. Why a lifestyle change instead of a diet? I’ve now kept over 100 pounds off for over 3 years and lost even more. Diets never did that for me. Two baby steps I took to change my lifestyle were paying attention to my portions and the types of food I ate.

I read avidly on SparkPeople to find out just how much of each food was considered healthy to eat as a meal and as a portion. I also had to re-teach myself what to eat. It wasn’t a matter of simply swapping out fried potato chips for baked ones. Growing up in the Midwest, I was brought up on a big piece of meat, some kind of potatoes and corn, peas or other starchy vegetable for a meal. Now I eat a big serving of vegetables and fruits and smaller servings of meat and grain.

So what would be an easy way to get your portions and your proper meal components without much thought? Nobody wants to get out the measuring cups, spoons, etc and start measuring things in front of their friends, especially at a restaurant or a home dinner party. Sometimes dieting is a discreet thing for whatever reason. Sometimes you’re just in a hurry and want to get a portion controlled, healthy meal put together fast.

WINE-TRAX has the perfect solution! This company has developed some beautifully designed dinnerware that takes the guesswork out of what to eat and how much. First there is the beautiful clear design that goes with anything. The pattern is etched glass that simply looks like a design, but signifies portions of certain foods in the amounts they should be eaten. The plate, for example, is divided into three sections, one large section for fruits and vegetables, and two smaller sections for protein and grains. Basically, the plate is the “Healthy eating guide,” as well as the portion controller.

The bowls have rings around them signifying 1/3, 2/3, and 1 cup, but these rings look like beautifully etched lines, rather than measuring marks. The bowl comes with a re-sealable plastic lid for saving snacks for later. The glasses are appropriate for anything from wine to milk and measure 4, 6, and 8 ounces. Just like the bowls, they have etched rings around them showing the user just how much they are drinking, thus allowing them to drink exactly how much they want. I enjoy the elegance mixed with practicality of these dishes. I personally received a free set of the dishes and I love them. They make meal planning very simple, dinner parties very pretty, and can be thrown straight into the dishwasher for cleaning. They are working wonderfully to help me tighten up my portions and eat better. I do plan to buy a full table setting in the future so my family and guests can eat healthfully with me.

You can find these products at

Glasses are 2 for $28.50.

Bowls are 2 for $30.00.

3 Piece Place Settings are $42.00 each.

Measure Up bowls are another very handy portion control eating tool. These bowls are white ceramic and have raised numbers and measurements on the inside placed very discretely. These are great for cereal, chili, soups, spaghetti, and anything else you would normally measure out into as bowl. They are not elegant, but are very practical and do not give away that the user is on a diet and measuring their food when using the dishes. Unlike WINE-TRAX, these bowls do not have lines suggesting which foods to eat in what quantities. I did, however, purchase a few and found they help with portion control.

You can find these at Measure Up Bowls

Classic Measure Up Bowl is $19.99 (measures up to two cups)

Small Measure Up Bowl is $13.99 (measures up to one cup)

Combination of Both is $29.99

The most cost effective by far has to be the Fit & Fresh sold in the SparkPeople Store. These are also very practical, as they can be taken anywhere. The sets of Fit & Fresh come with big containers and small containers that have measurement markings on them. They come with ice pack rings that fit in the colorful lids that cover the containers. They are extremely versatile, in that you can eat measured amounts straight from them at mealtime, pack portion controlled meals in them, pack leftovers in them, and freeze individual meals in them, and they always look festive and clean easily in the dishwasher. The cost per piece is much lower than that of any other portion control item out there on the internet that I found and would use. These do not suggest proper foods to eat, like WINE-TRAX, nor are they dinner party material, but they are picnic and lunch bag worthy and great for someone who is already familiar with healthy meal components. Not only did I buy one set, but two because of their versatility.

You can find these products right in the SparkPeople Store.

You can find the Smart Portion Prep Kit for $26.99 and the Meal on the Go Combo Kit for $19.99.

From elegant and discrete to casual and colorful, there are tools out there to help with portion control. Portion control is a crucial step to learning to eat healthier. Choose your style and mix it up. The point is to have the right tools on hand to change your eating habits to healthy ones for good. These tools may be able to help.

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    Like most of the information read on SparkPeople web site it is only good if you resolve to use it. I just sent an e-mail to portion control, and even at 70 pounds above my healthy weight I plan to get to goal using just one more tool in my bag of tools. I am eating 100% better now all because of SparkPeople. At 76 that is meant to be a real compliment. I've tried every diet known, and the life style is what is for me the most successful approach to get to the finish line of good health.Thank you, all SparkPeople members around the world for helping me. - 2/19/2012   2:48:11 PM
  • 42
    I found a product called the Portion Plate ( ). It has little lines and pictures on it so you know where to put the food, and how much! :) - 9/25/2011   1:04:44 AM
  • 41
    I love, love, love this Blog!!! Absolutely, an awesome tool!!! Thanks Indy!!! - 9/13/2011   10:40:12 PM
  • 40
    I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE all your blogs! Wow I didn't know anything about these resources, thank you so much!!!! - 6/29/2011   4:48:29 AM
    I just got my wine glasses in the mail today, as a direct result of finding out about them here. Thank you! - 5/18/2011   11:46:45 PM
  • 38
    Thanks for the idea Beth. Portion control is my Waterloo! I looked everywhere for simple divided plates that wouldn't break the bank and found some at my local Old Tyme Pottery store. They are heavy, white (the same as the old time cafeterias used to use) and divided into the large portion and two smaller portions...perfect and even better at the open stock price of $1.99 each. You continue to be an inspiration. - 5/15/2011   4:24:35 PM
  • 37
    I purchase really cheap acrylic seasonal patio-ware and use a sharpie to mark serving sizes on the wine glasses. - 5/12/2011   10:14:20 AM
    Sounds great but I think we still need to learn to "eye" our portions b/c we won't always have the bowls whereever you go.. - 5/9/2011   6:49:48 AM
  • 35
    I would just love these dishes. I do guess, though, there is a cheaper way to measure one's food. - 5/8/2011   10:34:00 PM
  • 34
    I like the bowls. - 5/8/2011   9:41:24 PM
  • 33
    Wow! Spendy! - 5/8/2011   2:37:16 PM
  • LADYR64
    Most glass and plastic bowls/ containers have how much they will hold on the bottom, you can pick out a lot at the dollar store, if on tight budget - 5/8/2011   2:00:57 PM
  • 31
    What a beautiful design! Too bad they do not ship outside of the US yet. - 5/8/2011   9:40:06 AM
    I have a couple of the Fit-N-Fresh and the measurement markers wear off in a few weeks. - 5/8/2011   9:12:07 AM
  • 29
    I love the bowls!! - 5/7/2011   10:41:11 PM
  • 28
    Great idea! will have to go check out the Wine-trax plates to see what they look like. Thx for sharing. - 5/7/2011   12:40:03 PM
  • 27
    Oh Beth, thank you! I hope that one day Spark will offer any of these fabulous products as give aways! But, I'm going to get my husband and I a set of the pretty ones and each a set of the SP ones! Portion control has been the hardest for me! I'm getting myself the 2nd set of bowls yu mentioned as you said the numbers are raised and I am blind, so perhaps it will be easier for me to use those bowls. You sold me and I appreciate this information SO much! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! - 5/7/2011   11:38:44 AM
    These are some neat tools. I found portion control to be my biggest step in proper nutrition. At first, I measured everything until I felt comfortable eyeballing portion size. Occasionally I will put out a serving then measure it to see how close I am. Usually pretty close, so I feel confident in my ability to keep on track without having to measure evertthing. - 5/7/2011   10:54:42 AM
  • 25
    I just ordered WineTrax and can't wait to get them. Just what I needed. - 5/7/2011   10:52:57 AM
    I love my Fit n Fresh containers. I have never had one warp in my dishwasher or spill in my lunch bag. And they DO help with portion control. - 5/7/2011   10:19:19 AM
  • 23
    For a $15 jar of etching cream and a set of glass dishes ($1-2 each from any dollar store or Christmas Tree Shops), I could easily make the etched dinnerware -- and knowing how many crafty folks we have on SparkPeople, ANYONE here could do it! In this economy, there's no way I'd spend $14.25 for a single wine glass. My crystal glasses from my wedding registry weren't that expensive.

    And I gotta say, I love the idea behind the fit and fresh, but those containers are really poor quality. They warp in the dishwasher and don't maintain a tight seal. I've lost several lunches thanks to those containers spilling all over my lunch box. - 5/7/2011   8:53:21 AM
    wow very cool. - 5/6/2011   6:21:31 PM
    I have the measure up bowls, but plan on checking out the the other items mentioned. Thanks for sharing! - 5/6/2011   6:11:21 PM
  • 20
    i like this idea...think I have to check out wine trax - 5/6/2011   4:56:19 PM
  • 19
    I love the glasses and bowls!! Might have to check these out!! Thanks for sharing - I had not seen Wine-Trax before. - 5/6/2011   4:43:45 PM
  • 18
    It's a little expensive for me right now but if I had the money to spend I would invest in the wine-trax dishes. I use measuring cups and spoons but sometimes it is such a pain to go from pot, to cup to bowl or plate. Having the measurements right on the bowl is a great way to avoid a step. This didn't feel like an advertisement to me at all........I appreciated all of the helpful info! - 5/6/2011   4:07:24 PM
    Someone has been thinking! Very smart! - 5/6/2011   3:57:31 PM
  • 16
    We have lots of wine glasses with logos on them from wine-tastings we go to (our favorite quick getaway is to the wine country about 50 miles from where we live) and I know where 5 oz of wine lines up relative to each logo!!! (3.5 or 4 oz of wine is simply too little for one glass for me!!!) :) - 5/6/2011   2:49:11 PM
    I found a drinking glass that is also a 1/3, 1/4 1/2 and one cup measuring cup at Dollar Tree for a buck. It has a nice amount extra space at the top for stirring in protein powder. Love it for getting the exact amount of juice or milk. - 5/6/2011   1:57:22 PM
  • 14
    Wow, what a great idea! Perhaps they'll show up in less expensive options one of these days. - 5/6/2011   1:50:00 PM
  • 13
    I love fit and fresh containers! You can actually find them cheaper at Marshalls, TJ Maxx, or Target! - 5/6/2011   1:28:00 PM
  • 12
    SO COOL! Thanks for sharing! - 5/6/2011   12:50:39 PM
  • 11
    I have used the fit and fresh containers for a couple of years and I love them. They have a handy rack that holds several of the containers (6-8). I wash and prepare fruit and veggies and store them in the containers. Then I grab them for lunches or snacks. Convenient, dishwasher and microwave safe. - 5/6/2011   12:48:33 PM
    Love those WINE-TRAX pieces. What a simple and useful idea. Sure would save some time in the kitchen. - 5/6/2011   12:32:57 PM
  • 9
    I appreciate seeing these reviewed. I've been looking into portion control dishes and this gives me options to think about. - 5/6/2011   12:31:27 PM
  • 8
    There are less expensive workarounds, too--use measuring cups and eyeball the different levels on your own glassware or bowls. - 5/6/2011   11:43:55 AM
    You can also just use marking on different patterns. For example, on my willow ware bowls, I know where on the pattern marks a cup. If you had a striped pattern, it would be even easier. And yes, they need to work on making their ad less obviously ads :) But..we want them to keep the site going... we need some rich sparkers to buy some plates! - 5/6/2011   11:40:24 AM
  • 6
    If I were given a set of the clear dishes, I'd use them everyday! Very pricey for me, though. Hopefully this idea will catch on and with more suppliers the prices will come down.

    The first comment is right, it does feel like an ad, but I know SP are given items to test from time to time, so they can review them for us. - 5/6/2011   11:03:11 AM
  • 5
    I really love this, especially the plate, bowl and glass. I guess that is all of it huh. But for me it seems quite spendy. 28.00 for a plate. But I love the idea! That would help me I know because when I am hungry my idea of portion size is not exactly accurate! - 5/6/2011   10:40:18 AM
  • 4
    I love my fit and fresh containers but all the measurements that were printed on the sides were washed away within a month of use. Now I am back to measuring cups. It's convenient that the ice packs are built into to the lid but they are hard to remove for cleaning. I'd give them a B at most. The cutting board is great though, definite A. - 5/6/2011   10:39:22 AM
  • 3
    I love the Fit & Fresh for the portion size, but be aware that they are not water tight. Also, the tops aren't flat so they don't stay level if you stack them and will leak all over the inside of your lunch box. Also, they don't fit very well in the Spark People lunch box. - 5/6/2011   10:29:35 AM
    I think it's a great idea, but a measuring cup works just as well. Plus when I buy new dishes, I'm going to buy fair trade. - 5/6/2011   10:20:00 AM
  • 1
    This kind of feels like an advertisemet. - 5/6/2011   10:09:26 AM

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