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Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 08/09/2011

In pursuit of perfect portion sizes

This week the Washington Post’s Local Living section, in which my “Eat, Drink and Be Healthy” column appears, focuses on back-to-school stuff. I wrote a few fun items about snacks and lunches for schoolkids.

I would have liked to include a note about a product called Dippy Cups, these cute and colorful little silicon cups that hold just two tablespoons — a perfect portion size — of ranch dressing, ketchup, honey mustard or whatever dip your kid likes with his baby carrots. I didn’t, though, because as yet, Dippy Cups don’t come with lids, which makes them tricky to pack into a school lunch. (Though they’re great for an after-school snack.)

I like Dippy Cups because they fill a need that I discovered in March when I wrote about ranch dressing: It’s hard to find a two-tablespoon serving vessel, without which it’s tricky to portion out the right amount of sauce.

The other reason I’m blogging about the cups, though, is that the set I have at home have gotten a lot of use from, of all people, my big galoot of a 14-year-old son. Instead of dumping half a bottle of ranch or ketchup on his plate, making a mess and ultimately throwing much of it away, he now gets his little teddy-bear-shaped Dippy Cup out of the cupboard and squeezes his condiment into it. (I’m ashamed to report that for a brief time he had served his ketchup in a shot glass.)

That got me thinking about other portion-control devices we’ve used over the years. Probably the most successful of all have been the pink and blue melamine Russel Wright coffee cups, which hold just a modest serving of ice cream. Our vintage Boontonware dishes are right-sized at 9 1/2 inches, accommodating a more reasonably sized meal than the now-commonplace 12-inch plate.

What tricks and tools do you use to control portion sizes in your household? Please share your ideas in the comments section.

By  |  07:00 AM ET, 08/09/2011

 
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