The Smartest Weight Loss Tricks Ever

Lose weight without counting calories when you try these inventive new uses for everyday objects

October 18, 2010
Colorful measuring cups
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Brilliant Strategies for Healthy Eating

Measuring your foods is the most accurate way to control portions, but you don't need to start toting around a Pyrex in order to lose weight. Instead, try using everyday objects, such as your iPod, a quarter, and a shot glass, to reprogram your understanding of serving sizes and control calories. These innovative portion equivalents from Lisa Young, PhD, RD, adjunct professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University and author of The Portion Teller, and Toby Smithson, RD, American Dietetic Association spokesperson, will change the way you see food to make eating right a cinch.

Weight loss strategies

Video: Prepare Healthy Meals

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Diameter of a Quarter = 1 Serving of Spaghetti (Dry)

Pasta doubles in size when cooked, so it's easy to measure out more than you need. Hold a bunch of dry spaghetti in your hand. A single serving of dry long noodles should about ¾" to 1" in diameter (2 cups cooked). 

Calories: 420

Ice cream scoop
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Ice Cream Scoop = ½ Cup of Beans

An ice cream scoop is a handy way to measure a half-cup of beans or pasta.

Calorie: 110 to 130

Icebreakers mints
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Ice Breakers Tin = 1 Hamburger Patty

Keep your hamburger patties around 3 inches in diameter to avoid supersizing your dinner.

Calories: 210

Two fingers
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2 Fingers = 2 oz of Hard Cheese

While it's a good source of protein, cheese also tends to be high in fat, so keep your portions limited to the size of two finger-sized slices.

Calories: 170-235

Computer mouse
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Computer Mouse = 1 Baked Potato or Sweet Potato

One computer mouse-sized potato counts as two servings of grain.

Calories: 100

iPod touch
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iPod Touch = 3 oz of Chicken

Don't have a deck of cards handy? Use an iPod Touch or Blackberry Curve to gauge a serving of lean meat instead.

Calories: 265

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Checkbook = 3 oz Salmon

A serving of fish should be about the size of a checkbook, or the length of your hand from palm to tip.                                                                                                                                                                                        

Calories: 130

Ziploc bag
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Sandwich-Size Ziploc = 1 Serving of Air Popped Popcorn

Make your own 100-calorie pack: A sandwich-size Ziploc bag holds almost exactly 3 cups of popcorn.

Calories: 90

Shot glasses
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Shot Glass = 2 Tbsp Salad Dressing

Dousing your salad in dressing is one of the fastest ways to pile on the calories. Instead of squeezing straight from the bottle, serve a shot of dressing on the side.

Calories: 85-145

Baby food jar
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Baby Food Jar = ½ Cup Corn Flakes

Baby food jars aren't just useful for storing office supplies and making arts and crafts. A jar is also a good measure for a serving of cereal or oatmeal.

Calories: 50

Altoids tin
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Altoids Tin = 1 Serving of Almonds

Refill your Altoids tin with a handful of almonds for a take-anywhere snack. Each canister holds about 1/3 cup.

Calories: 270

Chinese teacup
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Chinese Teacup = ½ Cup of Rice

The next time you're at dim sum, portion your rice in a teacup before serving yourself.

Calories: 100

Spaghetti measure
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More Secrets to Smart Weight Loss