Tips to Manage Your Food Portions

measuring almonds on a scale Have you noticed that food portions have gotten bigger? Compared to a few decades ago, the amount of food offered as a single portion has increased. Big portions mean you are likely to eat more and, over time, this could lead to weight gain. The good news is you have the power to manage your portions! Here’s how.

Bonus! Watch the video to see this information in action.

Eating out

Restaurant portion sizes tend to be much larger than what you would normally eat at home. Try these tips to manage your portions when eating out.

  • Share foods like appetizers or fries around the table.
  • Split a large meal with a friend, or pack up part of your meal to take home for lunch or dinner the next day.
  • Order a salad and appetizer instead of a large main entrée.
  • Ask for a small-sized main entrée. Many restaurants are happy to accommodate what customers want.
  • Craving dessert? Order a “mini” dessert for yourself, or a regular dessert with forks for everyone to share.
  • Avoid refills of sweetened drinks like pop and iced tea. Better yet, stick to water with a splash of lemon or lime.

Eating in

Eating homemade meals is a great way to manage your portions. Try these tips.

  • Serve food on smaller plates and bowls. You’ll eat less and be just as satisfied. Give it a try.
  • Fill half your plate with vegetables. This will help keep your portion of meat, fish, poultry or other protein to ¼ of your plate. The remaining ¼ is perfect for a serving of whole grains, like brown rice, pasta, quinoa or cooked barley.
  • Feel like having a second helping? Make most of it extra vegetables or salad.
  • Pack leftovers for the next day’s lunch, or freeze for another meal.


Choosing healthy snacks keeps your energy up between meals. Follow these ideas to be a smart snacker:

  • Keep fresh and healthy snacks in plain sight.  You are more likely to reach for these foods when they are close by. A bowl of fruit on the counter will do the trick.
  • Limit buying foods like cookies, chips and ice cream. When you do, keep them out of sight.
  • Eating in front of the TV? Portion out your snack into a small bowl instead of eating out of the bag or container. When you eat out of the package it can be hard to know how much you are eating, so you may be eating more than you realize.

Grocery shopping

Buying in bulk may be a smart decision for your budget, but use these tips to keep those portions in check:

  • Use small reusable containers or bags to re-package foods into the portion size of your choice.
  • Split up freezer-friendly bulk purchases into smaller portions before you freeze them.
  • Focus on healthier buys and split a few items with friends and neighbours.

You may also be interested in:

Video: Plate size matters

Last Update – October 6, 2020

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